Burberry pins hopes on Marcus Rashford as sales fall

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A mural of Marcus Rashford promoting Burberry in the Northern Quarter, ManchesterImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A mural of Marcus Rashford promoting Burberry in the Northern Quarter, Manchester

Luxury fashion group Burberry saw its sales dive almost 40% in Europe in the run-up to Christmas amid the pandemic.

But it said advertising partnerships with the likes of footballer Marcus Rashford were helping attract new customers to the brand.

In the 13 weeks to 26 December, the British label said it was hit by shop closures and a drop-off in tourism.

About 15% of its stores worldwide are currently closed with a third facing restrictions.

Boss Marco Gobbetti said the brand faced an "uncertain trajectory" in 2021 given the spread of new variants of Covid-19.

But the label said there had been high points, including Burberry's festive campaign partnering with Mr Rashford - who has taken a prominent role against child poverty during the pandemic.

It said the consumer response to the campaign was "exceptional" on social media, with imagery featuring Mr Rashford becoming "our most liked Instagram post of all time".

Burberry said it had helped attract a "new, younger clientele" to the brand, who splashed out on outerwear and handbags designed by its creative director Riccardo Tisci.

Overall, like-for-like sales around the world fell by a more modest 9% in the period, with revenue standing at £688m.

That was in part due to strong growth in mainland China and Korea.

Digital sales at the group also surged by 50%, making up for some of the sales lost at stores.

Mr Gobbetti said: "Our localised plans and digital capabilities helped drive growth in rebounding markets and we implemented our planned reduction in markdown.

"While the short-term outlook remains uncertain due to Covid-19, we are well placed to accelerate when the pandemic eases."