The company said retail sales in the 10 weeks to Sept. 8 were 6% higher than a year ago, but all of the growth was due to new stores openings. Comparing stores open for at least a year, retail sales were unchanged. More recently, there has been a “deceleration.”
The conservative outlook comes just as what some saw as a once-insatiable appetite for luxurygoods in emerging markets is downturning, particularly in China which has been the engine for much of the growth.
Burberry, renowned for its iconic trench coats and $22,384 handbags, said comparable store sales in the 10 weeks to Sept. 8 were flat compared with a year earlier, sending its shares down 17.8% in early trading.
Moreover, the company added that full-year adjusted pretax profit would be at the low end of analysts’ expectations of between 405 million and 445 million pounds.
“As we stated in July, the external environment is becoming more challenging,” said Angela Ahrendts, ceo. “In this context, second-quarter retail sales growth has slowed against historically high comparatives. Given this background, we are tightly managing discretionary costs and taking appropriate actions to protect short term profitability, while continuing to execute on our proven five key strategies.”
In the last few months, brands including LVMH and Hermès International SCA, as well as Burberry, have reported slowing sales growth and highlighted uncertain economic conditions.
“There isn’t much clarity in the Burberry’s statement,” said Rahul Sharma, managing director of retail analysts Neev Capital. “Burberry is saying there are problems with the entire luxury industry and not just the company.”