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Burberry burns almost €32 million of its own gear to protect against fakes

REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
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By Pascale Davies
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The British fashion house has faced backlash on social media after it burnt unsold gear.

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Luxury British fashion brand Burberry burnt almost €32 million worth of unsold clothes, accessories, and cosmetic products last year.

The maker of the iconic trench coat said it destroyed six% more items than in the previous financial year.

While Burberry said the energy created from the burning was captured, making it environmentally friendly, social media users vented their frustration about the waste.

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But Burberry is not the only brand to burn its stock. Last year, an investigation found the Swedish high street fashion retailer H&M had incinerated 60 tons of clothes since 2013.

Destroying products has become common practice in the industry, to protect intellectual property and prevent illegal counterfeiting.

Burberry said the destruction of cosmetic items was a one-off related to a licence agreed last year with the beauty company Coty.

A company spokesman said: “Burberry has careful processes in place to minimise the amount of excess stock we produce. On the occasions when the disposal of products is necessary, we do so in a responsible manner and we continue to seek ways to reduce and revalue our waste.”

The fashion house is in the middle of a revamp intended to "re-energise" its products over several years.

The group warned that sales in the UK and Europe have decreased due to weaker tourist demand, but that Chinese tourists had lifted sales in Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan.

Burberry is gearing up for the first collection under its new chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy's former designer.

The brand is also hoping to boost sales by collaborating with one of the original British punk designers, Vivianne Westwood, later this year.

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