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A male model walks the Burberry runway in a check puffer jacket.
Reuters/Henry Nicholls
The new Burberry.
NEW HERITAGE

Burberry’s edgy, logo-heavy look is giving it the sales jolt it needed

Marc Bain
By Marc Bain

Fashion reporter

Burberry got a fresh rebrand last year after designer Riccardo Tisci took over as the label’s creative chief. He introduced a digital-friendly new logo (Quartz member exclusive), as well as a flashy new monogram bearing the initials of founder Thomas Burberry.

The company had been in need of a jolt: Sales had stagnated, leading it to unveil a turnaround plan that involved Tisci taking it more upscale and establishing it as a luxury leader. Since, the designer’s first collections for the brand have made ample use of those new symbols, while delivering on the promise that Tisci would reimagine Burberry with his blend of sensual, high-fashion elegance and an edgier streetwear sensibility. So far, the company’s hopes are being fulfilled, as shoppers buy up what Tisci is offering.

Today it reported a 4% rise in sales for the quarter, which was the first with a significant amount of product from Tisci’s collections and marked an acceleration over recent quarters. About half of what Burberry had in its mainline stores came from Tisci by the quarter’s end, Burberry said, and those products delivered “strong double-digit percentage growth compared to prior year equivalent collections.”

The clothes were especially popular, and the company noted that sell-through of the new items at wholesale retailers was higher than previous collections too. (Bags will take a bit longer to see Tisci’s impact, the company pointed out on its earnings call, because he and Burberry are taking more time with the product to elevate the designs, materials, and prices.) Japanese and Chinese shoppers in particular bought up the new goods. Asia-Pacific already makes up more than 40% of the company’s business—more than any other region—and sales there grew a high-single digit percentage, driven mostly by mainland China.

Burberry
How Burberry is capitalizing on its new monogram.

While Tisci has unveiled a range of different items, the pieces splashed with a print of Burberry’s new monogram have been among the standouts. They give Burberry the feel of a heritage luxury brand, much like Louis Vuitton, while being recognizable on Instagram. They fit with the resurgent popularity of logos seen across luxury fashion.

Tisci has said he got the idea for the monogram from a drawing of Thomas Burberry’s initials he found in Burberry’s archive, and together with graphic design legend Peter Saville, created the interlocking “TB.” Burberry had high hopes for it right away. “The motif opens huge product opportunities,” Judy Collinson, Burberry’s chief merchandising officer, said on a call with investors in May. “It is our past and our future.” A print made from the monogram was only logical, she added, with potential for every category from leather goods to clothing and shoes. Burberry has even created a capsule collection centered on the monogram.

Tisci’s main focus has been on the brand’s main and runway collections so far. Soon, the company said on its call, he will turn his hand to reinventing some of Burberry’s heritage styles as well.

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