Burberry to expand in shoes and handbags

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Burberry is planning to stick to its knitting in terms of branding but it is looking to expand leather goods, children’s wear and sportswear, the creative head of the British fashion group said on Tuesday.

A model presents a creation from Burberry Prorsum 2010 Spring/Summer collection during London Fashion Week, September 22, 2009. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Christopher Bailey, 38, who was elevated last week to the post of chief creative officer - a position nobody else holds in the fashion industry - said there was solid demand for new types of Burberry goods such as belts and shoes.

“There is a huge momentum in this sector (of leather goods),” Bailey told Reuters in an interview on the fringes of a luxury summit in Berlin, organized by the International Herald Tribune.

“We will be growing the range with a bigger emphasis on shoes,” he said.

Currently, non-apparel makes up about one-third of Burberry’s revenues. Bailey’s comments came after the 153-year-old company posted a smaller than expected fall in first-half profits.

Bailey said the crisis had goaded Burberry to continue cultivating its “integrity and quality values.” He said the company, which had already survived many twists and turns in history, carried a “reassuring” character.

“You need to understand your roots and your heritage,” he said. “Our strategy has been to be more focused about who we are. Our point of view is that you have to have a point of view and have a strong voice among the clutter.”

Bailey said he had noticed that “people feel it is okay to start shopping again” but they wanted to buy things that lasted.

Bailey, who received an MBE this year in the British Honours List for his services to the fashion industry, joined Burberry in 2001.

Prior to joining the British group, he was senior designer of womenswear at Gucci in Milan from 1996 to 2001 and was the womenswear designer at Donna Karan from 1994 to 1996.

Editing by Paul Casciato