Burberry burns bags, clothes and perfume worth millions

BBC News:  

Burberry, the upmarket British fashion label, destroyed unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth £28.6m last year to protect its brand.

It takes the total value of goods it has destroyed over the past five years to more than £90m.

Fashion firms including Burberry destroy unwanted items to prevent them being stolen or sold cheaply.

Burberry said that the energy generated from burning its products was captured, making it environmentally friendly.

“Burberry has careful processes in place to minimise the amount of excess stock we produce. On the occasions when disposal of products is necessary, we do so in a responsible manner and we continue to seek ways to reduce and revalue our waste,” a spokesperson for the company said.

The FTSE 100 company said last year was unusual as it had to destroy a large amount of perfume after signing a new deal with US firm Coty.

As Coty would be making new stock, Burberry had to dispose of £10m worth of old products – largely perfume.

Over the past few years, Burberry has been working hard to make its brand exclusive again after it went through a phase when counterfeiters were “sticking the Burberry check on anything they could”, said Maria Malone, principal lecturer on the fashion business at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Destroying unwanted products is part of that process, she said.

“The reason they are doing this is so that the market is not flooded with discounts,” Ms Malone said.

“They don’t want Burberry products to get into the hands of anyone who can sell them at a discount and devalue the brand.”

Tim Jackson, head of the British School of Fashion at the Glasgow Caledonian University in London, said luxury fashion firms such as Burberry faced a “paradox”.

They have to grow at the risk of “diluting their identity and creating excess stock”, he said.

“There’s no way they are ever going to solve this problem.”

Burberry is not the only company having to deal with a surplus of luxury goods.

Richemont, which owns the Cartier and Montblanc brands, has had to buy back €480m (£430m) worth of watches over the last two years.

Analysts say that some parts of those watches would be recycled but much would be thrown away.

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