burberry burn stock

Burberry destroyed £28 million worth of stock last year to guard against counterfeits

In a bid to guard against counterfeited goods, luxury fashion chain Burberry revealed they burned £28.6 million worth of fashion and cosmetic goods last year.

The reason for burning goods is to prevent unsold items finding their way into the hands of retailers who will happily sell them at a lower price. To prevent unsold stock being shifted at a cut price, it’s common practice in the fashion industry to burn large amounts of unwanted goods.

The Times report that some £28.6m worth of goods were burned in 2017, including £10.4m worth of beauty products, while Burberry have destroyed more than £90m worth of goods in the past five years, with the value of its waste up 50% in two years, suggesting that the threat of knock-offs is ever-growing.

Some have criticised fashion brands for the environmental harm burning goods causes, but the company only works with specialist companies able to productively used the excess waste from the process, with a company spokesperson stating:

“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.”

£28 million worth of stock equates to around 20,000 trench coats or 17,000 two-piece suits.

Burberry’s sales are believed to be down in the UK because of a fall in spending from Chinese customers, which make up around 40% of Burberry’s customer base, as Julie Brown, chief operating and financial operator, told The Guardian:

“We had far fewer Chinese tourists coming to the UK and Europe. They were shopping more in Asia.”