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[Herald Interview] ‘Old young’ Burberry determined to show world beyond trench coat

Mixing a 159-year heritage with the contemporary vibe to target a wider range of customers will be the key to the future of Burberry, the British fashion brand’s Asia-Pacific division CEO told The Korea Herald on Friday.

With a new cosmetics store, an upcoming flagship store and the industry’s first-ever digitized PR and shopping spaces, Burberry will aggressively promote the message that it offers “more than a trench coat” to Koreans this year, said Pascal Perrier.
Burberry 2015 fall-winter Menswear collection. (Burberry)
Burberry 2015 fall-winter Menswear collection. (Burberry)

“Korea is the third-largest market for Burberry in Asia and taking into account those traveling overseas and shopping for our products, Koreans are the third-largest Burberry customers in the world, which makes things even more attractive,” Perrier said.

Burberry Korea, established in 2002, posted 239.3 billion won ($222 million) in sales and 19.9 billion won in operating profits in the fiscal year 2013. During the same period, Burberry reported global sales of $3.4 billion.

“I think Koreans relate themselves with Burberry’s heritage and value our craftsmanship in our classic trench coats,” Perrier said. 
Burberry Asia Pacific CEO Pascal Perrier. (Burberry)
Burberry Asia Pacific CEO Pascal Perrier. (Burberry)

But recently, Burberry’s runways have been filled with bright, flowery or acid colors that are a far cry from the traditional beige tartan pattern. “It is our next goal to have the rightful product mix to find the balance between those two elements, and show Burberry as the ‘old young company,’” he said.

Burberry Beauty opened its specialty store Burberry Beauty at Coex shopping mall in southern Seoul last month, the second in the world following the inaugural store in Covent Garden, London.

It sells 350 products ranging from cosmetics items such as lipsticks and nail paints to sunglasses and pouches. The store has adopted state-of-the-art technology allowing people to “virtually try on” nail paints and lipsticks. The company also engraves customers’ initials on the My Burberry perfume bottles they purchase.

The British luxury label is also slated to open its first flagship store in the affluent area of Cheongdam-dong in southern Seoul around September, where it will provide detailed information about Burberry products and high-end tailored service for the “rightfully so demanding Korean customers.”

These two stores will be the epitome of Burberry’s operations in Korea and the Asia-Pacific. Its omnichannel retailing ― the integration of brick-and-mortar stores and the digital world ― will finally become complete. Burberry was the first luxury fashion brand to make it possible to make real-time purchases of items in fashion shows broadcast online. It is still considered the pioneer of digital marketing.

“About 30 percent of those who shop at choose to pick up the items at offline shops. They want to try it on, feel the service and more. And with the flagship store, we will finally be able to launch the second chapter in Korea,” Perrier said.

Perrier dismissed the notion that the Internet could degrade the brand’s luxury value. “In fact, we are the envy of all other luxury houses. I think online and offline help each other. We have been and will be robust here,” he said with confidence.

By Bae Ji-sook (
Korea Herald Youtube