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Burberry hit by mainland China sales decline, Japan rallies on tourism boom

Britain’s Burberry reported a 4 percent decline in full-year revenues to GBP 2.97 billion, hurt by a plummeting Asia-Pacific market in the fourth quarter.

SEE ALSO: Burberry recruits Son Suk-ku as latest brand ambassador

For the quarter ending March 30, Burberry Asia-Pacific sales plunged 17 percent, coinciding with a 19 percent decline in quarterly sales in mainland China.

The mainland Chinese customer group fell 12 percent in that quarter, with tourism accounting for almost a quarter of the customer group sales globally.

For the year, APAC revenues maintained growth, up 3 percent.

For the quarter, South Korea declined 17 percent, and 8 percent for the year, with the customer group down 12 percent. Koreans buying abroad rose by double-digits, with tourist spend mainly in EMEIA and Japan.

In line with this sentiment, the Japanese market saw strong growth, up 25 percent in the year and 18 percent in fourth quarter, supported by tourist spend that more than doubled, accounting for half of region’s sales in the quarter.

By product category, Burberry saw a strong performance from outerwear, up by a high single-digit percentage in the year, led by heritage rainwear. Scarves grew by double digits, while leather goods performed “broadly in line with the group average.” The London-based house said ready-to-wear for both men’s and women’s fell by mid single-digits.

“Executing our plan against a backdrop of slowing luxury demand has been challenging. While our FY24 financial results underperformed our original expectations, we have made good progress refocusing our brand image, evolving our product and strengthening distribution while delivering operational improvements,’ said Jonathan Akeroyd, chief executive officer, Burberry.

“We are using what we have learned over the past year to finetune our approach, while adapting to the external environment. We remain confident in our strategy to realise Burberry’s potential as the modern British luxury brand and in our ability to successfully navigate this period.”

A marketing tactic in attracting more Asian consumers to the Burberry brand has been the appointments of local celebrities to the role of brand ambassadors. Earlier this month, Burberry recruited South Korean actor Son Suk-ku, joining Chinese actress Tang Wei, Chinese actor Chen Kun, Thai star Bright, soccer player Son Heung-Min, and South Korean actress Jun Ji-Hyun, to the Burberry roster.