Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year ending 28th March, revealing the impact of COVID-19 on the business.
Although the report discusses positive responses to its SS20 and AW20 collections and sales higher than expected earlier in the year, the outbreak of COVID-19 in late January negatively affected the financial year. Store closures, first in Asia then occurring globally, resulting in a 27% decline in sales compared to the last quarter of the 2019 fiscal year.
Burberry's supply chain was also disrupted, with the closure of factories and the brand's global distribution centre. The fashion house has instead changed its focus to aid COVID-19 relief efforts, producing and assisting the delivery of PPE and funding vaccine research.
While the brand admitted it was not able to forecast its 2021 financial year results, it recognised the impact that the current closure of 50% of its store network would have on the start of the next fiscal year. However, Marco Gobbetti, Chief Executive Producer, described the brand's "strong balance sheet and liquidity, with space for investment when markets recover" and explained: "We have found new ways to strengthen our connection with consumers, drawing on our digital leadership. Now, more than ever, our strategy to secure our position in luxury fashion is key", he concluded.