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Burberry warns of lingering coronavirus impact as sales tumble

British luxury fashion group Burberry has said it sees no immediate end to disruption to its business from coronavirus, as the pandemic continues to reduce activity in its stores and keep tourists away.

Burberry said it expects its financial second quarter, ending in September, “to continue to be materially impacted by the pandemic”.

“Tourist flows are likely to remain negligible,” the group said on Wednesday. “Store operations are continuing to face significant headwinds, with some remaining closed and operating with reduced trading hours.”

The group forecast that retail sales in the second quarter would be up to 20 per cent lower than the same time last year. In its wholesale business, revenues in the first half of the year were running around 50 per cent lower than a year ago. 

In the quarter to June 27, Burberry’s same-store retail revenues fell 45 per cent on the same period in 2019. 

Burberry, whose business model depends on wealthy tourists visiting its European stores, said that coronavirus-related lockdown measures in Europe meant sales fell 75 per cent on a year ago. Revenues in the US fell by 70 per cent, although Burberry said trading is improving after some restrictions have eased.

Chief executive Marco Gobbetti said that, despite such declines, consumer response to Burberry’s latest collections had been “excellent”, particularly with new, younger customers. 

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