Top 100 Brand in The World – Rank no.77 – Burberry Group – UK
|Traded as||LSE: BRBY|
|Founded||Basingstoke, England (1856)|
|Number of locations||473|
|Key people||John Peace, (Chairman)
Angela Ahrendts, (CEO)
Christopher Bailey, (CCO)
|Revenue||£1,857.2 million (2012)|
|Operating income||£376.9 million (2012)|
|Net income||£265.1 million (2012)|
Burberry Group plc is a British luxury fashion house, distributing clothing and fashion accessories and licensing fragrances. Its distinctive tartan pattern has become one of its most widely copied trademarks. Burberry is most famous for its trench coat, which was designed by founder Thomas Burberry. The company has branded stores and franchises around the world and also sells through concessions in third-party stores. Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales have granted the company Royal Warrants. The Chief Creative Officer is Christopher Bailey. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
Early years, 19th century
Burberry was founded in 1856 when 21-year-old Thomas Burberry, a former draper’s apprentice, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. By 1870, the business had established itself by focusing on the development of outdoors attire. In 1880, Burberry introduced in his brand the gabardine, a hardwearing, water-resistant yet breathable fabric, in which the yarn is waterproofed before weaving. Burberry was the original name, but then the company soon switched to using the name Burberrys, after many customers from around the world began calling it Burberrys of London. This name is still visible on many older Burberry products. In 1891, Burberry opened a shop in the Haymarket, London, which still exists and until recently was the site of Burberry’s corporate headquarters. Now the headquarters are at Horseferry House just behind Houses of Parliament, Westminster (London).
In 1901, the Burberry Equestrian Knight Logo was developed containing the Latin word “Prorsum”, meaning forwards, and registered as a trademark. In 1911 they became the outfitters for Roald Amundsen, 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 ill-fated attempt on Mount Everest in 1924.
In 1914, Burberry was commissioned by the War Office to adapt its officer’s coat to suit the conditions of contemporary warfare, resulting in the “trench coat“. After the war, the trench coat became popular with civilians. The iconic Burberry check was created in the 1920s and used as a lining in its trench coats.
Burberry was an independent company until 1955, when it was taken over by Great Universal Stores (GUS).
During the 1970s, the brand became popular with the British casual cult, leading to its being associated with members of football firms by the 1990s and ‘chav‘s the following decade. Such a shift in a brand’s clientele exemplifies prole drift.
In 1998, Burberry’s changed their marketing name to Burberry. Most of their items changed too, but many accessory items still had the Burberry’s name.
Burberry Group plc was initially floated on the London Stock Exchange in July 2002. GUS divested its remaining interest in Burberry in December 2005. In 2006 Rose Marie Bravo, who as Chief Executive had led Burberry to mass market success, retired. She was replaced by current CEO Angela Ahrendts.
Burberry first began selling online in the US, followed by the UK in October 2006, and the rest of the EU in 2007. In recent years, Burberry has attempted to rebrand itself with advertisements in GQ, Esquire, Vogue, Tatler and Harper’s Bazaar, and is well known for using British celebrities in its advertising, including models Kate Moss, Agyness Deyn, Jourdan Dunn and Lily Donaldson, singer George Craig, actress Emma Watson, who was named the face of Burberry’s 2009 Fall/Winter campaign and the cover model for the 2010 Spring/Summer campaign, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who was unveiled as the face of Burberry’s newest fragrance, Burberry Body, in July 2011. In June 2010, the Group launched its first cosmetics line, Burberry Beauty.
Angela Ahrendts, who took over in July 2006, has been credited with turning round the company’s fortunes. In 2013, it was announced she had taken home a total pay packet of £16.9m, putting her top of the executive pay league—the first time a woman topped the table. A mid-October 2013 announcement revealed that Ahrendts will commence as a senior vice president at Apple, Inc. in mid-2014. Ahrendts oversaw Burberry’s digital strategy for almost eight years and, during her tenure, sales increased to about US$3.2 billion (2 billion pounds) and shares gained more than threefold.
The Burberry Foundation
The Burberry Foundation was established in 2008 and is a philanthropic organization dedicated to help young people realise their dreams through the power of their creativity.
Burberry operates under 3 brands:
- Burberry Prorsum – Base line for other brands.
- Burberry London – Heritage outerwear ‘wear to work’ items, including business wear.
- Burberry Brit – The most accessible of the Burberry brands, with entry level pricing.
Burberry offers a range of checks:
- Haymarket: Classic check with the Burberry Equestrian Knight
- House: Classic check without the Burberry Equestrian Knight
- Nova: The newer and bigger check pattern. Has a cream/tan background with vertical and horizontal black and pink/red stripes
- Supernova: Larger than Nova check.
- Exploded: Exploded check usually in metallic colours like silver
- Smoked: Classic check in a darker colour with no Equestrian Knight detail
- The Beat: Classic check in black and white.
Burberry has over 500 stores in over 50 countries.