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Burberry Burns Clothes To Stop Discounts On Them

Newsweek logo Newsweek 7/19/2018 Brendan Cole

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The high-end clothing manufacturer Burberry burned $37.8 million of unwanted products last year, sparking environmental concerns from its shareholders and a debate over the wastage by luxury brands.

Designer brands often destroy unwanted stock to stop it being sold at discounted prices and maintain the exclusivity of their products so they are not sold to the “wrong people,” The Times reported.

In its annual report, the luxury clothes maker, renowned for its checked designs, $1,800 trench coats and $250 polo shirts, stated that it destroyed $13.76 million in beauty products and $24 million in ready-to-wear products and accessories.

This was three times more than in 2014. More than $116 million worth of Burberry products have been destroyed over the last five years, The Times added.

Shareholders at the company had complained about the destruction with one investor asking why the products were not made available at its AGM, Retail Gazette reported. Retailers say the practice helps stop counterfeiting and protects intellectual property. 

a person wearing a costume © Provided by IBT Media

The campaigns of Burberry, a company which is valued around $12.5 billion, are fronted by celebrities, including Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Romeo Beckham, Cara Delevigne and Eddie Redmayne.

Burberry said that it was an industry-wide practice and it used incinerators that harness energy. It added that it took the issue of waste “extremely seriously,” The Times reported.

Fashionunited.co.uk reported that Burberry does not have complete control over its brand in different markets and so foreign factories can tamper with design copyright.

“Hence, to retain brand equity, luxury companies decide to destroy or buy back their collections to ensure it doesn't re-enter the marketplace,” it said.

Retail giant H&M said it burnt unwanted stock to power the Swedish city of Vastera. Luxury brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton also burn unsold stock, The Times reported.

Burberry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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