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Burberry Group PLC
TypePublic limited company
FTSE 100 component
Founded1856; 166 years ago (1856)
Cliddesden Road, Basingstoke, England
FounderThomas Burberry
HeadquartersHorseferry Road, ,
Number of locations
421 (2020)
Area served
Key people
RevenueDecrease £2,343.9 million (2021)[1]
Increase £521.1 million (2021)[1]
Increase £375.9 million (2021)[1]
Number of employees
9,234 (2021)[1]

Burberry is a British luxury fashion house headquartered in London, England. It currently designs and distributes ready to wear, including trench coats (for which it is most famous), leather goods, footwear, fashion accessories, eyewear, fragrances, and cosmetics.

Established in 1856[2] by Thomas Burberry, originally focusing on the development of outdoor attire, the house has moved into the high fashion market, developing gabardine, and products made exclusively for the brand.[A]

The first London shop opened in the Haymarket, in 1891. Burberry was an independent family-controlled company until 1955, when it was reincorporated. In 2005, it completed its demerger from GUS plc, the company's former majority shareholder.[4]

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. In 2015, Burberry ranked 73rd in Interbrand's Best Global Brands report, alongside Louis Vuitton and Prada.[5][6] Burberry has stores in 59 countries.[7]


Early years, 19th century[edit]

Burberry was founded in 1856 when 21-year-old Thomas Burberry, a former draper's apprentice, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.[8] By 1870, the business had established itself by focusing on the development of outdoors attire.[8] In 1879, Burberry introduced gabardine to his brand, a hardwearing, water-resistant yet breathable fabric, in which the yarn is waterproofed before weaving.[9] In 1891, Burberry opened a shop in the Haymarket, London.[8]

20th century[edit]

Former Burberry headquarters on the Haymarket, built 1913
Burberry Check

In 1901, the Burberry Equestrian Knight logo was developed containing the Latin word "Prorsum", meaning "forwards", and later registered it as a trademark in 1909.[8] In 1911, the company became the outfitters for Roald Amundsen,[8] the first man to reach the South Pole, and Ernest Shackleton, who led a 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica. A Burberry gabardine jacket was worn by George Mallory on his attempt on Mount Everest in 1924.[10]

Adapted to meet the needs of military personnel, the "trench coat"[8] was born during the First World War due to its being worn by British officers in the trenches. After the war, it became popular with civilians. The Burberry check has been in use since at least the 1920s, primarily as a lining in its trench coats.[8] Burberry also specially designed aviation garments. In 1937, A. E. Clouston and Betty Kirby-Green broke the world record for the fastest return flight from London to Cape Town in The Burberry airplane that was sponsored by the brand.[11] Burberry was an independent family-controlled company until 1955, when Great Universal Stores (GUS) assumed ownership.[12]

Influences and rise to prominence[edit]

Stars of the modern world began wearing the Burberrys brand. During the 1970s and 1980s, Burberry signed agreements with worldwide manufacturers to produce complementary products to the existing British collection such as suits, trousers, shirts, sportswear, accessories, for men, ladies, and children. These products, designed under the strict control of headquarters in London, were produced and distributed through independent retail stores worldwide as well as the Burberry stores, and contributed to the growth of the brand in sales and profits through to the late 90s, although the full extent of sales was not apparent in the parent company accounts since much was done through licensed agreements. The company had signed Lord Litchfield as photographer, Lord (Leonard) Wolfson was Chairman and Stanley Peacock OBE Managing Director.[13] In 1997, GUS director Victor Barnett became chairman of Burberry, hiring Rose Marie Bravo to execute a corporate reorganization and restoration of the brand as a luxury fashion house.[14] Barnett led the company up to its successful IPO in 2001.[15]

21st century[edit]

In May 2001, Christopher Bailey joined Burberry as creative director.[16][17] Christopher Bailey has been the chief creative officer since 2014, as well as CEO from 2014 – November 2017. Bailey stepped down as chief creative officer in March 2018 and departed the brand completely by the end of 2018.[18]

The "Equestrian Knight" logo (1999–2018)

Between 2001 and 2005, Burberry became associated with "chav" and football hooligan culture. This change in the brand reputation was attributed to lower priced products, the proliferation of counterfeit goods adopting Burberry's trademark check pattern, and adoption by celebrities prominently identified with "chav" culture. The association with football hooliganism led to the wearing of Burberry check garments being banned at some venues.[19] GUS divested its remaining interest in Burberry in December 2005.[20][21] Burberry Group plc was initially floated on the London Stock Exchange in July 2002. In 2005, Sanyo-shokai was the Burberry ready-to-wear licence holder in Japan with retail value of €435 million.[22]

In 2006, Rose Marie Bravo, who as chief executive had led Burberry to mass market success through licensing, decided to retire.[23] She was replaced by another American, Angela Ahrendts,[24] who joined from Liz Claiborne in January 2006, and took up the position of CEO on 1 July 2006. Ahrendts and Bailey successfully turned around the then chav-like reputation that the brand had acquired at the end of Bravo's tenure and cheapening effect of the brand's omnipresence, by removing the brand's check-pattern from all but 10% of the company's products, taking the fragrance and beauty product licenses back in-house and buying out the Spanish franchise that was worth 20% of group revenues.[25][16][26][27]

Burberry Chicago flagship store on the Magnificent Mile, built in 2012.
A Burberry store in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Burberry first sold online in the US, then in the UK in October 2006, and the rest of the EU in 2007.[28] Bailey became Chief Creative Officer in November 2009. It was reported in 2012 Ahrendts was the highest paid CEO in the UK, making £16.9m.[29]

In October 2013, it was announced that Ahrendts would take up the position of Senior Vice President of retail and online at Apple, Inc. from April 2014, and be replaced as CEO by Bailey.[30] During her tenure, sales increased to over £2 billion, and shares gained more than threefold to £7 billion.[31] Burberry promotes its British connection; according to The Guardian, a British national daily newspaper, as of July 2012, Burberry maintains two production facilities in Great Britain, one in Castleford producing raincoats, and one in Keighley.[32] In spring 2014, fashion designer Christopher Bailey became CEO of Burberry and retained the role as chief creative officer.[30] His basic salary was £1.1m, with total compensation of up to £10m a year depending on sales targets being met.[33]

In July 2016, it was announced that Celine boss Marco Gobbetti would become CEO of the FTSE 100 Company, while Christopher Bailey became the Creative Director and President.[34] In 2016, the label launched its "Mr Burberry" fragrance.[35] In 2016, Burberry had an increase in reported profits, with 77 per cent of sales coming from Burberry's stores. The increase was in part attributed to strong sales in Asia. In early May 2017, the store announced it was moving 300 employees from London to Leeds. In July 2017, Gobbetti replaced Bailey as CEO.[35] In March 2018, Burberry named Riccardo Tisci as the brand's chief creative officer effective 12 March.[36][37] A few months later, Tisci presented a new logo and monogram for the brand, designed by the English graphic designer Peter Saville.[38][39]

In April 2018, it was announced that Sir John Peace would be stepping down as chairman of the board and be replaced by Gerry Murphy. Murphy had served as CEO of Kingfisher plc, as well as being current chairman of Tate and Lyle and The Blackstone Group International Partners LLP. Peace's departure marks a change in leadership for the group with Gobetti and Ahrends having left the previous years.[40]

In May 2018 it was reported that Burberry had filed a lawsuit against Target claiming that Target had copied its check print designs and was seeking amount of $2 million, in addition to the amount to cover its legal fees.[41]

In July 2018 it was reported that in the previous past five years Burberry had destroyed unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth over £90m in order to protect its brand and prevent the items being stolen or sold cheaply. While a representative of Greenpeace criticised the decision, Burberry claimed that the energy generated from burning its products was captured, making it environmentally friendly.[42] According to Burberry's annual report, by the end of the financial year 2018, the company had destroyed goods worth £28.6m, an increase on the £26.9m from its financial year 2017.[43] In September 2018, Burberry reported that it would stop the practice of burning unsold goods, with immediate effect. Burberry also announced it would stop using real fur in its products, and would phase out existing fur items.[44]

In February 2019 Burberry apologized for showcasing a hoodie that featured a noose around the neck during its show at London Fashion Week. The retailer said it has removed the item from its collection, after criticism from one of its own models led to an online backlash.[45] In February 2020 Burberry was forced to close 24 of its 64 Chinese mainland stores because of COVID-19.[46]

In 2021, Burberry announced that it would become a 'climate positive' company by 2040.[47] The fashion brand also announced that it would commit to a new target reduce chain emissions by 46% by 2030, an increase from an earlier pledge of a 30% reduction. [48]


Rainbow cape by Christopher Bailey for Burberry on display in The Met's exhibit Camp: Notes on Fashion

The company's main fashion house focuses on and distributes ready-to-wear outerwear,[49] trainers, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses and cosmetics.[50]


In March 2021, Burberry was the first luxury brand to be targeted in China as part of the backlash regarding sanctions against the systematic human rights abuses and genocide in Xinjiang.[51] Brand ambassador and Actress Zhou Dongyu terminated her contract with Burberry.[52]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "What makes gabardine unique is the fabric’s ability to be water-resistant and breathable at the same time. It’s also an extremely tough fabric which made it perfect for military use. Not only were officers wearing a trench coat able to stay comparatively dry in the trenches during rain, thanks to the breathability of gabardine, but the coats also did not make them sweat and dehydrate in hot and humid temperatures either."[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2021" (PDF). Burberry. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  2. ^ "Burberry: The History and Heritage of the Iconic Luxury Brand". Luxity. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  3. ^ Tung, Christen (4 July 2020). "Burberry: What Makes the Luxury Brand So Unique?". Maggwire. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Burberry plc – history".
  5. ^ "2014 Best Global Brands". Interbrand. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Rankings – 2015 – Best Global Brands – Best Brands". Interbrand. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  7. ^ Burberry Store Fashion. "Store locator". burberry.com. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Burberry History". Burberryplc.com. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  9. ^ Chastain, Sue (4 December 1985). "Trenchant coat cuffs may fray and buttons may pop but a true believer won't abandon his Burberry". Chicago Tribune. p. 40. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Mallory and Irvine: Should we solve Everest's mystery?". BBC. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  11. ^ "The Burberry Comet (G-ACSS) Racer Project". Key Publishing Ltd. 20 November 2009. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  12. ^ "Timeline: Burberry". 2 November 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  13. ^ Tungate, Mark (2012). Fashion Brands: Branding Style from Armani to Zara. Kogan Page. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-7494-6446-2.
  14. ^ Heller, Richard (24 January 2000). "Can this woman do a Gucci on Burberry". Forbes.
  15. ^ Lockwood, Lisa (26 April 2001). "Barnett steps down, Burberry set for IPO". WWD.
  16. ^ a b McDowell, Colin (6 September 2009). "Christopher Bailey: Burberry's golden boy". The Times. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  17. ^ Jones, Dolly (11 November 2009). "All Hail Bailey". Vogue. Archived from the original on 14 November 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  18. ^ Fletcher, Nick (31 October 2017). "Christopher Bailey to cut all ties with Burberry". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  19. ^ Bothwell, Claire (28 October 2005). "Burberry versus The Chavs". BBC. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  20. ^ Finch, Julia (18 November 2005). "GUS shareholders to receive Burberry cheque". London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  21. ^ Fletcher, Richard (18 January 2011). "How Burberry was kept in check at GUS". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  22. ^ Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9.
  23. ^ "Bravo move to quit puts Burberry shares out of fashion". The Telegraph. 7 October 2005. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  24. ^ "World Business Forum 2011 : Home". hsmglobal.com. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  25. ^ Kuehlwein, JP; Schaefer, Wolfgang (2015). Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands. London: Kogan Page. pp. 211–212. ISBN 978-0-7494-7003-6.
  26. ^ Hass, Nancy (9 September 2010). "Earning Her Stripes". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  27. ^ The Burberry Story Archived 7 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine Styl.sh. Retrieved 31 January 2014
  28. ^ "Shop on line". Uk.burberry.com. 5 December 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  29. ^ Petroff, Alanna (11 June 2013). "Top paid CEO in UK is an American woman". CNN Money. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  30. ^ a b Marfil, Lorelei (8 April 2014). "Angela Ahrendts Named Honorary DBE". WWD. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  31. ^ Andrew Roberts (15 October 2013). "Burberry Designer Bailey to Become CEO as Ahrendts Goes to Apple". Bloomberg. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  32. ^ Carole Cadwalladr (16 July 2012). "The hypocrisy of Burberry's 'Made in Britain' appeal". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  33. ^ "Burberry shareholders vote against remuneration report". BBC News. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  34. ^ Paton, Elizabeth (11 July 2016). "Burberry C.E.O. to Step Down, Ending Dual-Role Experiment at Helm". New York Times. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  35. ^ a b Vandevelde, Mark (18 May 2017). "Burberry sales rise as Bailey bows out as chief executive". Financial Times. United Kingdom. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  36. ^ "The history of Burberry: A Timeline". Haute History. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  37. ^ Newbold, Alice. "Burberry Announces Riccardo Tisci As Chief Creative Officer". Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  38. ^ "Burberry Has A New Logo and Monogram". Harper's BAZAAR. 2 August 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  39. ^ Sebra, Matt (2 August 2018). "Burberry Has a New Logo". GQ. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  40. ^ Butler, Sarah (13 April 2018). "Burberry hires former Kingfisher boss Gerry Murphy as chairman". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  41. ^ "Target is being sued by Burberry, and it reveals one of the biggest problems facing the clothing industry". Business Insider. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  42. ^ Morris, Ben (19 July 2018). "Burberry burns luxury goods worth millions". BBC News. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  43. ^ "British fashion house Burberry to stop burning unsold items". CNBC. 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  44. ^ "Burberry stops burning unsold goods". BBC News. 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  45. ^ "'Suicide isn't fashion': Burberry apologizes for hoodie with noose around the neck". CNN.com. 19 February 2019.
  46. ^ "Burberry Says Viral Epidemic Devastates China Sales". Bloomberg.com. 7 February 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  47. ^ Davis, Jessica (11 June 2021). "Burberry to be climate positive by 2040". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  48. ^ "'Going further': Burberry vows to be 'climate positive' by 2040". www.businessgreen.com. 14 June 2021. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  49. ^ Exposito, Adrian Gomis (8 January 2021). "Burberry Future Archive Capsule Collection Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & New Faces Magazine". www.vanityteen.com. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  50. ^ Fragrance and Beauty to be Directly Operated Archived 6 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 6 January 2014
  51. ^ Togoh, Isabel. "As Burberry Faces Backlash In China Over Xinjiang Cotton, Other Luxury Brands Could Face Boycott". Forbes. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  52. ^ Fletcher, Richard. "Burberry hit by Chinese boycott". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 26 March 2021.

External links[edit]