Economic Analysis of Burberry


There are tools and techniques that can help owners and managers make decisions. However these decisions are based on purely estimations where the costs and profits will come to a breakeven point. The common breakeven analysis is Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis. This analysis shows that how the cost and profit changes when the volume change. It analyses the effects on profits of changes in variable costs, fixed costs, selling prices, volume, and the products sold. However, there was a downside for this analysis which it only focuses on the breakeven point.

In this paper, I mainly analyses Burberry’s performance and describing some of the companies’ background. Besides that, I also did some research on the structure and the competitiveness of the luxury fashion industry. Burberry had built their position in the market since 1856. Burberry Group is a British luxury fashion house, manufacturing clothing and fashion accessories. Its distinctive tartan pattern has become one of its most widely copied trademarks. The company has branded stores and franchises around the world, and also sells through concessions in third-party stores.

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It runs a catalogue business and has a fragrance line.

Burberry Background

The Burberry brand was well-known for the authentic British heritage, unique democratic positioning within the luxury arena. They are the largest retailer in United Kingdom. Their founding principles are quality, function and modern classic style. The trench coat, trademark check and Prosum horse logo are their globally recognized icon portfolio. By year 2000, Burberry operated 58 company-owned stores.


154 years ago, a 21 years old draper’s apprentice, Thomas Burberry, opened a small outfitter’s shop in Basingstoke Hampshire, England.

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By year 1870, Burberry focused on the quality and innovation in fabric and outwear design which expanded the shop into an ‘emporium’. Ten years after that, they invented Gabardine. Gabardine is a breathable, weatherproof and ‘tearproof’ fabric. In 1891, Thomas Burberry & Sons expanded their emporium in the West End of London at 30 Haymarket. They developed a predecessor of the trench coat, Tielocken, which was adopted by British officers during the Boer War in 1895. In 1904, the Burberry Equestrian Knight Logo was developed containing the Latin word “Prosum” meaning forwards and registered as a trademark.

Burberry was then commissioned by the War Office to adapt its officer’s coat, to suit the conditions of British contemporary warfare, resulting in the modern day “trench coat”. In the 1920s, they added a lining to the trench coat, The Burberry Check, which was registered as a trademark of Burberry. In 1955, Burberry was awarded a Royal Warrant by Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the second Royal Warrant in 1989. With these reputation built, they became an international well-known luxury brand.

Products Burberry

The products they provide can be seen at the pyramid shown below. Burberry brand uniqueness is the patented Burberry Check. It is a combined red, black and white check pattern. It was created in 1924 and was used as lining for the trench coats. It was then used for other merchandise including handbags, umbrellas, and scarves. Other than the Burberry trademark check, their signature icons also includes trench coat inspired D-rings, quilting and the Prosum equestrian knight logo. The Ansoff Matrix Market Penetration Classic Garments for existing target market (Trench coats, outwear, etc. )Product Development Burberry Accessories . e. stadium hats, handbags, toys, fragrances, etc. Market Development Diffusion ranges in mid 1990s for wider audience (Younger Consumers) Diversification N/A


Luxury Industry Background

Fashion is normally built up from the creativity aspects of people’s personality. This is an industry where people can express their full potential of their creativity which reflects ones persona. Fashion industry is too based on each country’s culture which gives the designers instinct and the uniqueness of the fashion. The United Kingdom (UK) fashion industry had given a great impact to the UK economy.

The direct value of the UK fashion industry to the UK economy is around  21 billion which is equivalent to 1. 7% of the UK GDP. This direct impact includes manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing of a range of fashion goods. Purchasing from the textiles sector, advertising and public relations spending, the economic contribution of the fashion education and fashion media sectors also the direct impact of the UK fashion industry. One of the main influence is the Value Added Tax (VAT) paid by consumer while purchasing fashion items. It consists of  13. 2 billion from the  21 billion.

As for the indirect and induced impact of the UK fashion industry is calculated as more than 16 billion. This impact relates to the spending in other industries, ranging from IT to tourism. The total contribution from the UK fashion industry is more than 37 billion. Logically, Burberry belongs to the fashion industry. However, theoretically, Burberrry belongs to a typical traditional luxury industry. Luxury goods are one of the few truly “global” brands that are able to gain from global efficiency in marketing and producing the product exactly the same in any market that they enter.

In UK, this market had grown into a mature market. It is a market of the changing factors of demographics, consumer and fashion trends and the demands of new generation. Most of the apparel production of the players in the industry outsource to other countries. 2 of the main outsources are China and Hong Kong. However, UK has a host of other cost centers including Vietnam, Turkey and Bangladesh.

Products in the industry

There are various products in this industry. Infact, this is sort of like people’s daily needs. The following chart defines the luxury sector and the products produced in this industry.

These product segments can be divided in geographical segments

Industry Structure

The competition in this industry is monopolistic competition. There are thousands of firms in this industry competing with each other. Examples of firms are, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, Prada and etc. These are few of those well known luxury fashion brand. The nature their products are differentiated and they have their own uniqueness which makes them have the control over the price.

The Porter’s Five Forces Model

This model can explain this industry in detail. Threats of New Entrants

It is believed that new entrants will not really be a threat to the current established brands. However, new designers that start their own brand with the correct growth infrastructure, they can grow quickly. In this case, they can attract volatile middle market customers. But they normally cannot attract the stable HNWI customers. Competing with those well-developed companies they will need high capital for the latest technologies to keep their goods up to quality. Secondly, it is very difficult to estimate consumers’ tastes which also include their various profiles, and symbolic needs or expectations.

Small firms do not only design, manufacture, and sell their products, they also interact with their customers and systematically segment their markets and channels of distribution. This will give the new entrants the advantage during the process of design, manufacture and sales. The reason being is they understand their consumers better and try their best to fulfill their needs. As for large firm, they will have trouble understanding their consumers because of the hierarchy in the firm. Bargaining power of Suppliers

The bargaining power of suppliers supposable to be low because this market has not reach their consistency. It is different from the ordinary brand where consumers have their confidence on those brands. Luxury brands need to build their consumers’ confidence with marketing which will cost them a high budget. Bargaining power of Buyers The bargaining power of buyers is very high. The firms need to fulfill their consumers’ needs. If the consumer requires a product but the store, the store will need to call up some their branches in order to fulfill the consumers’ needs.

Threat of Substitutes There are no substitute for the luxury fashion industry unless of not buying it. Luxury industry usually use their own branding to attract their consumers and keep their loyalty on the brand with their uniqueness.

Industry Performance

The luxury industry is growing extremely well throughout the years even during economic slowdown. In year 2009, the luxury goods retailers stand 23% of new store opening. According to a global real estate adviser, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), luxury retailers operate in over 25 countries and 50 cities worldwide on average.

Comparing that with the global top retailers, CB Richard Ellis had mapped 294 world’s top retailers across 69 countries which make the luxury retailers have the largest global presence of all retail sectors. Hong Kong is the most popular destination for luxury retailers. They attract 91% of luxury brands surveyed as part of the CBRE study. Followed by London (87%), Dubai (85%) and lastly in total eight of the top 15 luxury Asian cities including, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, and Singapore. In the United States, they spend around $324. 3 billion on apparel, accessories, and footwear in 2002 and increased by 2. 9% ($315. 3 billion) in 2001.

The employment under this industry had decreased because most of the production had moved overseas for the reason of lower cost. The number of employment had dropped from 537, 000 in December 2001 to 507,000 in December 2002.

Competitive Strategy used in Luxury Fashion Industry

Luxury Conglomerates Being in the luxury industry, they can benefit from the integration in a luxury conglomerate. It is easier to have a much easier access to financial means and a solid business structure which can boost their development. The conglomerate can have the advantage of having cheaper cost of capital to finance their development.

They also enjoy the bargaining power and lower operation costs. All new creators and designers will be desperate to go into the companies in this industry which help to keep their uniqueness. Designer brands With this strategy, they compete with their uniqueness of their products which makes them different from other brands. The main issue here is their designers’ creativity and research and development. Without research and development, they might not know what their environment want most. Besides that, a good marketing skill can go a long way. It depends on how the company wants to show their image with the public.

Selecting the right market will be very important and can seriously affect their sales. Industrial brands By using this strategy, it is the build the brand strength by focusing on the business model that delivers on the brand promises and brand values. It is very important to give a clear message through good advertising. If the message is successfully send to the public, they can build their brand equity by extending their brand values through the entire business so that they can deliver on what they promise. Retailers The retailers base their business models around the strength of their stores.

Their stores are all their consumers will lay eye on the goods and services. So, the companies must give the first best impression to their consumers.

Burberry’s Performance Analysis

The total revenue had been growing throughout the past five years. For the past year, the total revenue growth was ? 1, 202 million which is around 7% of the growth. However, the total revenue growth had a massive decline at 2009 compared to the past years. It can be seen at the KPI table the total revenue growth had dropped 61% from year 2008 and around 53% from 2007.

It can be seen from the figure below that the major increase from the 7% total revenue growth, retail is the main income which is around 14%, 2% increase in wholesale, but 9% of licensing. Figure: Total Revenue growth divided by channels Most of the Burberry revenue came from Europe which is around 34% of the total revenue. The runner up is America (27%), Asia Pacific (21%), Spain (13%), and the rest of the world (5%). The emerging market China, Middle East, Russia and India contribute 9% of the sales. Burberry has been operating in these markets with their local partners who can provide esources and knowledge to help Burberry increase their sales in each region. Since these regions had provided quite an amount of sales through wholesales and retails, they had been expanding their stores. The following figure can show the number of stores they opened in different regions. By year 2009, they already open 91 stores in the emerging markets. Overall, Burberry had opened 419 stores in the world which is an increase of over 50 stores in 2009 compared 2008. These stores include a net of 22 more mainline, 22 more concessions where majority of the mainline is in Americas and Middle East.

As for the revenue from the product segments, womenswear gain the most revenue compared to other products. They gain around 37% of the total revenue. Coming up is non-apparel (33%), menswear (26%), and childrenswear or others which is around 4% of the total revenue. the revenue from the non-apparel segment is around ? 366 million which is 12% more than year 2008. Non-apparel accounted for 33% of retail and wholesale revenue, compared to 32% last year. The above figure is the financial review of Burberry comparing year 2008 and 2009.

It can be seen above that even though the total revenue but profit had dropped massively. This is caused by the costs of restructuring, impairment changes, negative goodwill credit on the formation of the Burberry Middle East joint venture, impact of one-off tax credits, relocation of global headquarters and group’s infrastructure redesign initiative. These costs had increased from 4. 5million to 190. 7million which made their profit from positive to negative. This cost had rose 102% compared to 2008. The following is the summary of the costs and the amount of each cost.

Costs included in the costs above:

  • Restructuring charge – Cost efficiency program including redundancy and other direct costs with the balance being asset write-offs and provisions.
  • Goodwill impairment charge – reflects on the increasingly challenging economic environment in the market.
  • Store impairment and onerous lease provisions – half of the cost is split in Europe and half in the United States
  • Negative goodwill – it is the cost from the formation of the joint venture in Middle East Relocation of headquarters – the deterioration in the London commercial property market during the last year.

About 70% of these charges are non-cash items, except for part of the restructuring charge and onerous lease provisions. Besides that, there is a decline on the operating profit which is caused by the massive increase on the cost of sales and a little effect on the increase on operating expenses in 2009. This is probably caused by the 2008 economic crisis. A terrible recession happened during 2008 which causes them whole lot more of costs and expense which will decrease their profit or even making a loss. The cost of sales had increased around 200million in a year.

Shareholders’ Wealth

The adjusted diluted EPS declined 4% (30. 2 pence) in 2009. This is due to the decline in profit caused by a lower tax rate. The reason being is probably caused by the 2008 economic crisis. Burberry put their concentration on the Total Shareholder Return where it measures the growth in value of a shareholding assuming dividends are reinvested to purchase additional units of stock. There are a few elements to measure the remuneration. These elements represent the total potential of the remuneration. Those elements are base salary, the annual bonus, benefits and service agreements.

Sustainability of shareholders’ return

Despite the decline of profit in year 2009, Burberry’s profit had been growing throughout the years. The reason that 2009’s profit had decline is mainly because of the recession had affected their costs. It is quite sustainable that the profit had been quite constant. The sustainability can be attained by looking at the corporate responsibility. Corporate Responsibility Burberry had been serving the highest quality standards since 1856. They did a very well job on building their brand image and bringing the operational excellence to the luxury products.

The following is the results from 2009. Clear Management Burberry has a clear management. Every year they have 3 meetings. The Group employs a Corporate Responsibility team of nine people which will manage the supply chain, environmental and community management and draws on external independent advice. Besides that, the executive management will review on the Environment, Ethical Trading, Employee Volunteering and Exotic Materials Policies. Healthy Business Partnerships Burberry believes in healthy business ethics. They believe that employing local labour and environmental laws with a safe and hygienic environment.

They also have a policy based on ethical trading with internationally accepted codes.

  • There are 487 factory visits to assure compliance with the Burberry ethical trading policy.
  • Engagement of active member of three BSR working groups
  • 25 key suppliers took part in long term capacity building programs focused on training for productivity, human resource management systems and better communication
  • Roll out of the Burberry confidential worker hotline in its suppliers’ factories.
  • New suppliers are approved by the CR team prior to working with Burberry Environment care Burberry has the largest environmental impact areas include carbon emissions (linked to energy use, travel and distribution network) solid waste and the use of bulk materials
  • Burberry lauched a packaging project to reduce the amount of transit packaging used
  • Relocated to new Corporate headquarters designed with energy-saving features, reduced cleaning chemicals, and more recycled stationery contents
  • Installation of energy-saving compressors
  • Waste reduction
  • Launched a sea vs air shipping initiative which resulted in significant savings and reduced environmental impacts

Organization Development

This includes attracting and retaining talented employees and customers which give the best results for the organization.

  • E-recruitment website and corporate intern program
  • Talent review, development program, and evolving the organization with strategic themes
  • New global headquarters, Horseferry House, provides a safe efficient and responsible working environment for employees and visitors
  • Piloted global education and training program designed for and delivered to all retail staff to ensure that the customer experience is in line with Burberry’s brand standards and Burberry’s luxury positioning Health and safety

By retaining talented employees, Burberry will ensure a fully healthy and safe environment for them. Products and supply chain standards Burberry has strived to achieve the highest quality standards in all components and stages of its supply chain process since 1856

  • More efficient with the use of raw materials
  • Usage of SAGA furs in Finland rather than natural hides
  • Issues licenses to ensure no harmful chemicals are used or contained within Burberry products

Contributing to society Burberry had been practicing the give corporate sponsorship worldwide which includes cash and product donations. Supports on London, New York City, and Hong Kong to identifies unique local challenges to successful youth development and supports charities with proven programs to address them -Burberry’s employees serve as mentors to young people and volunteer for a range of programs -2008 Christmas Coat Donation saw more than 500 coats distributed in London, New York City, Hong Kong, and Seoul across 12 different charities, ensuring that the coats went to job training students in time to help them begin their job search with confidence -Redundant office furniture and equipment from Burberry’s old offices were made available to the Foundation supported charities for their offices and programs

Risk volatility

By looking at the risk, it can give shareholders value. This analysis can be integrated by the evaluation of strategy.

Burberry is challenging with five key strategic themes. They are:

  • Leveraging the franchise
  • Maintaining brand momentum
  • Reinforcing outerwear heritage and leadership
  • Further reshaping the product pyramid
  • Capitalizing on menswear opportunity
  • Building childrenswear
  • Enhancing marketing
  • Optimizing licensing

Intensifying non-apparel development

Further growth in division of product:

  • Handbags
  • Shoes
  • Men’s non-apparel

Continue receiving marketing and PR focus via prominence on the runway, editorial priority and heightened presence in global advertising:

  • Initiated its partnership buy model for non-apparel with the Autumn/Winter 2009 season
  • Japanese non-apparel joint venture
  • Accelerating retail-led growth
  • Reorientating design and merchandising toward more disciplined, style-efficient and balanced collections
  • Increasing the frequency of new goods flowing to stores
  • Developing a more extensive and responsive replenishment program in all product divisions, while evolving in-store visual merchandising and processes to support
  • Enhancing store productivity
  • Accelerating new store openings
  • Continuing e-commerce development
  • Upgrading store image

Investing in under-penetrated markets

  • Increase market share in America
  • Entered joint venture with Middle East and opened four stores in 2009 Pursuing operational excellence Announced global cost efficiency program in January 2009
  • Global IT program implementation based on SAP technology in Hong Kong and United States Looking at the strategy and past years profits, Burberry’s risk volatility is quite low.

Cost-volume-profit analysis (CVP Analysis)


  • Only apply to one product
  • Fixed costs same in total and unit variable costs same at all levels of output
  • Sales prices constant at all levels of activity
  • Production equals to sales
  • All amount taken from 2008 is from the sale from one product
  • Volume sold in 2008 is 6million units
  • Net operating expenses and cost of sales are variable costs Sales at 6 million units

Total Revenue = 1279. 90million Total Fixed Cost = 150. 40million Net Operating Expenses = 416. 0million Cost of sales = 475. 90million Variable cost = 591. 9million


Burberry has its own uniqueness which a lot people will not just simply change their taste to other brands. This is one main reason that the revenues of Burberry kept on rising and also they kept their position in the market. However, if Burberry wants to keep their position in the market, they have to continue designing and express their creativity. Without this, consumers will sooner or later get tired of their old products and hence the sales will drop.

Same to the competitor in this luxury fashion industry. Besides that, good marketing can go a long way. With the right marketing, sending the right message to the right market, Burberry can save a lot of money and yet increase a lot of sales.


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  2. Casciato, P. 2010, Fashion worth more than $30 billion to UK economy, Reuters, cited at 24 October 2010, available at: http://www. reuters. com/article/idUSTRE68F3UX20100916
  3. CIMA Managerial Paper P2 – Management Accounting – Decision Magement, 2010, BPP Learning Media, London.
  4. Fashion History & Industry Analysis, 2009, Eurbanista, cited at 28 October 2010, available at: http://www. eurbanista. com/introduction-to-fashion-history-industry-analysis/
  5. Nguyen, V. , Analysis of the Luxury Goods & Apparel and Footwear Industries, cited at 28 October 2010, available at: http://www. uwlax. edu/urc/JUR-online/PDF/2004/nguyen. pdf
  6. Sloman, J. 2006, Economics, 6th edn, Pearson Education Limited, England. Smith, J. 2008, Worldwide luxury goods market growth projected to slow substantially by end of year and head into recession in 2009, according Bain & Co study, Business Intelligence Middle East, cited at 27 October 2010, available at: http://www. bi-me. com/main. php? d=28646&t=1&c=3&cg=2
  7. Strategic Analysis – Luxury Goods Industry Analysis, 2009, Thinking Made Easy, cited at 26 October 2010, Available at: http://ivythesis. typepad. com/term_paper_topics/2009/05/strategic-analysis---luxury-goods-industry-analysis. html
  8. Welch, P. J & Welch G. F. , 2010, Economics Theory & Practice, 9th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, United States of America. Worldwide luxury goods market growth projected to slow substantially by end of year and head into recession in 2009, Bain & Company, cited at 26 October 2010, available at: http://www. bain. com/bainweb/about/press_release_detail. asp? id=26657&menu_url=for_the_media. asp
Updated: May 19, 2021
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Economic Analysis of Burberry essay
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