|Burkini by Burberry?|
Burberry up 30% in China Whilst Nigella Lawson Hides 100% in her Burkini
Two disparate thoughts, Burberry’s well-received expansion into China and burkini-clad Nigella Lawson hitting the beach at Bondi beach in Australia? Not as much as you might think. Read on, Dear Reader.
Burberry, with Christopher Bailey as Chief Creative Director overseeing the luxury house’s remarkable decade-long comeback, has moved into China following a similar and successful path established by LVMH (who now sees 35% of their revenues coming from Asia). Looks like Burberry is following suit. Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts this week played host in Beijing to almost 1,000 power elite and svelte leading models rocking the British label’s latest offerings on a new television sound stage in what Christopher Bailey called, “the biggest, most innovative event we’ve ever done.”
The irony of such juxtaposition was not lost on market analysts who are watching with interest the Chinese central business administration banning the usage of the word “luxury” for any advertising, especially if it could be construed to promote hedonistic foreign culture. All this just as key demographics in China (75million households with income approaching $30k US) will be hitting the sweet-spot in 2015.
In fact, shares of Burberry PLC (BRBY .LN) hit an all-time high in London because of reports that their sales are up 30% in the second-half of the year and that annual profits would exceed market expectations. China has indeed become the putative leading market for the luxury houses.
But, wait Christopher, my dear Burberry baron of luxury business, there is so much more out there to be had, and this market share opportunity strolled onto Bondi beach in a black burkini. Nigella Lawson, British beauty, foodie, author and talk show host with the lovely English lilt, would be perfect as a Burberry burkini model.
From the business side, there are literally a billion people that live in arid, dusty and incredibly hot climates. They have a religious worldview that encourages their women to “cover up.” You have almost zero market presence in these territories for your trench coats, so why not go after the burkini market? I mean think about it, instead of the blasé traditional “burqa black,” you could slap a nice “Burberry plaid” on the burkini, et voila, instant million-selling item in a territory woefully lacking the presence of your iconic pattern.
Now, from a public policy side, such a move could portend political trouble. Nigella is, after all, the scion of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and this worldly woman probably should know better than to wear what many consider to be an object of oppression for millions of women around the world. You might well ask could she not simply have chosen a modest swimsuit, rather than the waterproof burqa? What with the burqa ban afoot in the EU and the UK and all, there could be some backlash.
Understood. Good point you make. But, the market share would be pretty amazing, n’est pas? And the burkinis will sell with or without your designs … but they sure would sell a whole lot more of them with a Burberry tag affixed I’m sure. Kick the idea around your London offices a bit. Oh, and by the way, congrats on the explosive sales in China. Let’s just not call them luxury sales.