Burberry is an international luxury brand. Its globally recognized name, trademark, and signature trenchcoat have been synonymous with quality and enduring style for over 150 years.
Thomas Burberry established his first shop in 1856. In 1891Burberry begun selling clothing under the Burberry name
Burberry was a shrewd marketer, employing trademarking and advertising to great benefit. Illustrated advertisements touting the clothing "designed by sportsmen for sportsmen" drew customers to Burberry's retail outlet, which was established in London's Haymarket section in 1891. Having used a variety of labels to distinguish its garments from imitations, the company registered the "Equestrian Knight" trademark in 1909, an insignia used continuously through the mid-1990s. Also employed in the corporate logo, this image represents several Burberry ideals. The armor signifies the protection afforded by the outerwear, the "Chivalry of Knighthood" reflects the company's own standards of integrity, and the Latin adverb "prorsum" ("forward") referred to Burberry's innovative fabrics and styles.
Burberry established its first foreign outlet in Paris in 1910 and soon had retail establishments in the United States and South America. It exported its first shipment of raincoats to Japan in 1915.
In 1966 the firm became a wholly owned subsidiary of Great.
Realizing that "A fine tradition is not in itself sufficient today," Burberry sought to broaden its appeal to a younger, more fashion-conscious female clientele. Acknowledging that "The first thing people think of when they hear Burberry is a man's trench coat,". One result was the Thomas Burberry collection, first introduced in Great Britain in 1988 and extended to the United States two years later. The new merchandise was priced 15 percent to 30 percent less than Burberry's designer lines. Yet it was not just the price tags that set this "bridge line" apart from the brand's more traditional garb. The collection emphasized more casual sportswear, as opposed to career wear. "Updated classics" included youthful plaid mini kilts, jumpers, and snug "jean fit" slacks. U.S. advertising executive David Lipman called the line and its model, Christy Turlington, "modernly relevant, yet classically beautiful." At the upper end of the scale, Burberry launched a personal tailoring service for the ladies. The company's women's division grew 30 percent from 1994 to early 1996 and was expected not only to overtake menswear, but to constitute more than 70 percent of total annual sales by 1999.
Burberry's efforts at product and geographic diversification appeared to be paying off in the mid-1990s. Sales increased by more than one-third, from £200.9 million in fiscal 1994 (ended March 31) to £267.8 million in 1996. Net income before taxes grew twice as fast, from £41.1 million to £70 million, during the same period.
In 1997, Rose Marie Bravo was elected CEO of Burberry. Her expertise in brand management fit in with company plans to strengthen the Burberry brand throughout the United States and Europe. Bravo began focusing on product and design development and hired creative director Roberto Menichetti to head up this initiative.
While the company focused on positioning itself among leaders in the fashion industry, it began facing problems caused by its over-dependence on Asian customers. Sales decreased by 7 percent in 1998 and profits tumbled in its retail and wholesale sectors due to the Asian economic crisis. As a major exporter, Burberry also was hurt by the strength of the pound. The company also began to slow down its shipments to the Asian grey market--a market in which its products were sold cheaply or re-imported back to Europe and sold at a discount--and shut down three production facilities in the United Kingdom. Whereas this decision hurt the firm's profits in 1998, management felt it would, in the long run, protect the Burberry image.
In 1999 Burberry launched the Prorsum collection.
As Burberry entered the new millennium, its financial results improved dramatically. The Asian market recovered, its European and American markets grew, and its new brand strategy began to pay off. Trading profits increased 103 percent over the previous year and sales rose by 11 percent. The company also closed nonprofitable stores and opened new stores in Las Vegas, Nevada and in Tokyo. Burberry also opened a new three-floor flagship store in London that was 16,000 square feet in size and featured new product lines including lingerie and swimwear. A new licensing agreement was signed with Mitsui in Japan, securing a greater share of profits from that region, and the firm acquired its Spain-based licensee--Spain was the firm's second largest market after Japan.
In 2001 Bravo announced the highest profits in Burberry's 100 year history. In spite of the very difficult financial year, Burberry posted an 18 % rise in annual revenue in 2002 and Rose was rewarded with a $ 6 million dollar pay packet.
Being at heart British, Christopher Bailey wanted to work with a designer in the U.K. His opportunity came when Rose Marie Bravo, the CEO of Burberry, offered him the design job. He joined Burberry in June 2001. Bailey has also overseen the start-up of Burberry's immense 57th Street New York flagship store, opened in Fall 2002. This will enable Burberry and Bailey to move into the US market with a bang.
In August 2003 Burberry introduced a new line which is called THOMAS BURBERRY. It is intended for the younger, hippier customer and will have a style focus comprising of casual functional sportswear. It will include plenty of denim, woven wool and canvas. It will have an 1885 stamp, the year the founder of the company Thomas Burberry was born.
In September 2005, Rose Marie Bravo announced that when her contract as CEO with Burberry expires in July 2006, she would not be renewing it. She is credited with increasing the profitability of the house to a tremendous extent. She will hold the position of Vice President at Burberry after July 2006, where she would be required only to spend a few days a month on Burberry work. Replacing her as CEO, and with a more hands-on role would be 45 year old Angela Ahrendts, who is at present with Liz Claiborne Inc.
Clean lines, classic style, and traditional colours (offshoots of the red, black, beige, and white Burberry check). The clothes are striking in their simple beauty.
Kate Moss and Beyonce Knowles. And almost everyone in New York has a real or, more likely, knockoff scarf or bag.