The British luxury clothing brand Burberry’s strategy of reaching out to its young and tech-savvy audience in Asia on social channels – a medium online consumers rule – is proving extremely popular.
The 162-year-old brand’s debut of its monthly limited-edition collection on mobile chat apps WeChat, Line and Kakao that are popular in China, Japan and South Korea, and Instagram, was a hit.
The company said the new launches, called B Series, which will take place on the 17th of every month, have been inspired by chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci, the ex-Givenchy star who joined Burberry in March.
Tisci was also behind Burberry’s new logo which was launched ahead of his debut “Kingdom” collection in September.
“The October series sold out rapidly in China, with T-shirts and sweatshirts particularly popular among consumers,” Julie Brown, Burberry’s chief operating and financial officer, said during a conference call on Thursday after the company’s results for the first-half ending September. “The products were sold out within the first four to five hours in China, Korea and Japan.”
The next launch is on November 17.
The company said the new concept prompted much higher levels of engagement online and attracted twice the number of new and younger customers to the brand compared to an earlier event in February.
“Burberry’s focus on Asian markets is evident in its new strategy and can be seen in the way the brand is striving to develop and strengthen brand loyalty through partnerships with apps that are particularly popular among Asian consumers,” said Gordon Tsui, managing director of Hantec Group Hong Kong.
The British fashion house is not the only luxury fashion brand that is experimenting with shorter production cycles. Moncler, the high-end Italian brand known for its down jackets and sportswear, has also been rolling out monthly editions since January as part of its sales strategy.
Burberry, which is in the midst of a transformation and repositioning under chief executive Marco Gobbetti, on Thursday said that revenues for the six months ended September fell 3 per cent year on year to £1.22 billion (US$1.6 billion) and adjusted operating profit dropped four per cent year on year to £178 million.
The company also said that first-half comparable store sales climbed 3 per cent, but Asia-Pacific sales grew in the mid-single digits as spending rose in mainland China and Chinese travellers shifted their spending from Europe to Asian tourist destinations, particularly Hong Kong and Korea.
Brown said the company’s direct-to-consumer growth was led by Asia-Pacific and its collaboration with Farfetch, the global technology platform for the luxury fashion industry, was paying off.
“Our partnership with Farfetch has certainly broadened our consumer reach, especially in tier two and tier three cities in China where our brand presence is comparatively lower,” said Brown, adding that some of the upcoming store openings in China include cities like Xian.
The company also maintained its outlook for the full year, including savings of £100 million through cost cuts.
“The initial response from influencers, press, buyers and customers to our new creative vision and Riccardo’s debut collection Kingdom has been exceptional. Mindful that we are only in the first phase of our multi-year plan, we continue to manage dynamically through the transition,” Gobbetti said in a statement accompanying the results.
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