British luxury brand Burberry’s comparable retail sales fell 9 per cent at constant exchange rates for the 13 weeks ending December. However, analysts had been expecting a 7 per cent decline. The steep decline during the pivotal holiday quarter shows how the pandemic continued to weigh on luxury fashion brands. The pandemic has also widened the gap between the strongest players like LVMH and Hermès, whose fashion sales returned to growth by the end of last summer, and more novel propositions like Burberry, which overhauled its designs and weeded out diffusion lines in a bid to move upmarket under designer Riccardo Tisci and chief executive Marco Gobbetti.
Burberry pointed at a silver lining with full-price sales that increased by more than 10 per cent in its key leather and outerwear categories. The brand blamed low tourist traffic at its off-price outlets and an effort to limit markdowns in its mainline stores for the overall sales decline.