March 1, 2018 / 9:16 AM / a year ago

Burberry turns to ex-Givenchy star Tisci as Bailey checks out

PARIS (Reuters) - Burberry (BRBY.L) turned to Riccardo Tisci as its new designer on Thursday, with the former Givenchy star’s appointment greeted by a share price jump as the British fashion house moves upmarket.

FILE PHOTO: Singer Madonna arrives with designer Riccardo Tisci at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Tisci, a celebrity favorite who has designed stage costumes for singers Beyonce and Madonna, replaces Burberry’s creative chief Christopher Bailey, who turned the trench coat maker into a global brand by making its classic camel, red and black check designs must-haves around the world.

Burberry shares jumped as much as 7.1 percent, and were up 4.7 percent at 1254 GMT as investors welcomed a well-known industry figure who might help jumpstart sluggish sales. Tisci has also collaborated with Nike, another potential plus at a time when luxury streetwear such as sneakers is proving a hit.

Luxury goods companies are riding a rebound in Chinese demand and younger shoppers flocking to high-end brands, although Burberry has stuttered of late.

Tisci, a 43-year-old graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, is credited with revitalizing LVMH-owned Givenchy (LVMH.PA) with an edgy, gothic style over his 2005-2017 tenure.

“We believe that the contemporary, street style orientation of Riccardo Tisci is a great match to relaunch the image of Burberry,” Berstein analyst Mario Ortelli said in a note.

Burberry chief executive Marco Gobbetti - who had overlapped with fellow Italian Tisci at Givenchy - is looking to breathe new life into the 162-year-old brand.

“Riccardo’s creative vision will reinforce the ambitions we have for Burberry,” Gobbetti said.

LUXURY PLAYER

Burberry’s turnaround plan echoes strategies pursued by many French or Italian peers, with a focus on high-margin items such as handbags, boutique revamps and a shift away from selling through lower-end department stores.

Some rivals like Gucci, owned by French conglomerate Kering (PRTP.PA), have also benefited from a radical design overhaul. Gucci’s reinvention with a flamboyant look, under a new CEO-designer pairing in the past three years, helped sales soar.

Gobbetti, who joined Burberry in 2017, has cautioned that the shift could take several years.

The fashion world is also notoriously fickle, and Tisci will have to convince with his new take on Burberry’s style when he presents his first collection in September.

Bailey’s attempt to combine his designer job with that of CEO between 2014 and 2017 - an unusual dual role in fashion - fell flat and he relinquished his CEO position in July.

He will stay on as an adviser until the end of the year after presenting his last Burberry collection, a colorful run through the label’s archives, last month.

Additional reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Jane Merriman and Alexander Smith

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