Burberry Cuts Jobs Amid Sales Slump and Strategic Missteps

Burberry Cuts Jobs Amid Sales Slump and Strategic Missteps

Jane Park
2 min read

Burberry Cuts Jobs Amid Sales Slump and Strategic Missteps

Burberry, the iconic British fashion house known for its signature trench coats, is undergoing a significant restructuring as it faces declining sales and strategic missteps. The company announced a 45-day consultation period for job cuts, potentially affecting up to 400 positions, as reported by The Telegraph. This move comes after Burberry reported a 4% revenue decline to £2.97 billion (US$3.76 billion) and a 34% drop in adjusted operating profit to £418 million (US$528.36 million) for its 2024 financial year.

The luxury goods market in the United States and Europe is experiencing a downturn as consumers deplete their pandemic-era savings, leading to reduced spending on non-essential items. This economic environment has impacted Burberry, which saw a 12% sales drop in the first quarter of 2024. The challenges are not isolated to Burberry; other luxury brands like Gucci also reported significant sales declines, with Gucci's sales falling 20% in the first quarter.

Key Takeaways

  1. Strategic Restructuring: Burberry is in the midst of a major restructuring, with a focus on cutting costs and re-evaluating its strategic direction.
  2. Market Challenges: The luxury market in the West is facing headwinds due to reduced consumer spending.
  3. Declining Sales: Burberry's sales dropped significantly in early 2024, adding pressure on the company's leadership to deliver results.
  4. Strategic Dilemma: The brand is at a crossroads, considering whether to continue with its "brand elevation" strategy or pivot to a more accessible "British Coach" model.


Burberry's recent performance underscores the difficulties in executing a successful upmarket shift. Despite significant investments and strategic adjustments under various CEOs, the brand has struggled to convince the market of its high-end positioning. The current strategy involves slimming down off-price sales and focusing on creativity and high-quality distribution. However, this approach has yet to yield the desired results, as evidenced by Burberry's declining profits and market share.

The alternative "British Coach" strategy suggests a focus on cost reduction and increased exposure to off-price channels, potentially leading to higher short-term profits but lower brand equity. This strategy could stabilize the brand's finances but might undermine its long-term luxury positioning.

Did You Know?

Burberry's brand elevation efforts date back to the 1990s when it began transitioning from a premium to a luxury brand. This shift involved significant sacrifices, such as giving up profitable licenses and eliminating discounts at full-price stores. Despite these efforts, the brand has been challenged by its historical association with mid-market price points and widespread discounting.

Moreover, Burberry's creative revamp under CEO Jonathan Akeroyd and designer Daniel Lee aimed to elevate the brand's aesthetics and product offerings. However, this strategy has not resonated strongly with consumers, leading to recent price cuts in key product ranges.

As Burberry navigates these challenges, the luxury industry watches closely to see whether the brand can find a successful path forward in a highly competitive and evolving market landscape.

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