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Burberry Burnt - Yes, Burnt - Clothes Worth £28 Million Last Year

21 July 2018

Luxury British fashion brand Burberry burnt nearly €32 million worth of unsold clothes, accessories, and cosmetic products previous year.

"The cost of finished goods physically destroyed in the year was £28,6 million ... including £10,4 million [R183 million] of destruction for beauty inventory", the company's annual report stated.

And it seems it's not just Burberry which destroys unsold goods. "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 Burberry spokesperson said.

She also argued that young people are being pressurised by luxury brands to buy "fast fashion", which encourages people to buy an item of clothing and only wearing it once before it goes out of fashion.

It is fair to say that Burberry is undergoing a period of transformation following the departure in February of its talismanic creative director Christopher Bailey, after 17 years with the company.

A model at Burberry's Spring/Summer 2018 fashion show.

But consumer sources told The Times the reason for the practice was to stop products ending up on the "grey market", where they would be sold to the "wrong people" at discounted prices.

The maker of the iconic trench coat said it destroyed six% more items than in the previous financial year.

Burberry previously talked up its commitment to cyclical economies, joining forces with Stella McCartney and Nike on the Make Fashion Circular initiative.

Fellow Make Fashion Circular signatory Nike was exposed by The New York Times a year ago for destroying stock by deliberately slashing its trainers to prevent them falling into the counterfeit market.

On Thursday, Burberry said it strove to act in a "responsible" manner when disposing of stock, saying there were "careful processes" in place to minimize the amount of waste.

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.

Ms Tually urged luxury brands to value their reputation beyond "exclusivity". H&M, Cartier and Montblanc are also believed to destroy unsold products.

Burberry Burnt - Yes, Burnt - Clothes Worth £28 Million Last Year