Upmarket British fashion label Burberry destroyed more than £28 million in unwanted products this year to stop them falling into the 'grey market' and being bought by the 'wrong' people, it emerged last night.
The high-end clothing brand, known for its £1,450 trench coats and checked design, has seen the value of its waste rise by 50 per cent in two years amid a continued downturn in sales.
More than £90 million of Burberry products have been destroyed over the past five years figures reveal, leaving unhappy shareholders to question why there were not offered the products as private investors.
Burberry, valued at around £9.6 billion by Forbes magazine, admit they burn unsold stock but say they worth with specialist incinerators to harness the energy produced, The Times reports.
Luxury brands destroy unwanted products to protect their intellectual property and brand values, insiders suggest.
Designer labels, it is claimed, do not want their products to be sold at discount rates elsewhere, or by the 'wrong' type of people, thus devaluing the brand.
Some analysts suggest higher price points in China and south-east Asia is causing the surplus in stock, with the cheapest ruck sack of offer almost reaching the £1000 mark.
Possibly because of this, Chinese executives announced a plan to average four per cent in China last week.
The official explanation was that the decision followed a reduction in Chinese import tariffs.
Burberry defended their actions, claiming it is an industry wide practice.
But environmentalists have been left angered, while it is not only Burberry who engages in the act.
High-street retail giant H&M admit to burning unwanted stock to help power Vastera, a small Swedish city.
While Richemont, the company that owns the Cartier and Montblanc brands, had destroyed more than £400 million of watches in two years after buying back unwanted stock from jewellers.
Meanwhile, Brits binned £12.5 billion of clothes last year, sending some 300,000 tonnes to landfills, reports Daily Mail.
The Burberry firm was formed in Basingstoke, Hants, by Thomas Burberry in 1856. He quickly found the value in famous faces being seen wearing his range, and arranged for Lords Kitchener and Baden-Powell to own his weather-proof coats.
The trend continues today, with the likes of Romeo Beckham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Cara Delevingne all fronting campaigns for the fashion house.
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