LONDON — Christopher Bailey is set to reveal Burberry’s full-year financial results and his future strategy for cost-cutting and growth, and brand-watchers are already speculating about what he might say on May 18.
On Friday, the Financial Times suggested that a “senior appointment” was in the pipeline, an individual who could help support Bailey, who holds the dual title of chief creative and chief executive officer, through what is proving a challenging period for the brand.
The paper said investors are concerned about disappointing trading and a sharp fall in the Burberry stock price.
Separately, Jonathan Guthrie, writing in the paper’s Lombard column, speculated that maybe Stacey Cartwright, Burberry’s former chief financial officer and executive vice president, could come to the rescue.
Guthrie said Bailey is “running out of time. Ms. Cartwright is running Harvey Nichols. Might she be available in extremes?”
The answer is no.
Asked Friday whether she would return, Cartwright told WWD: “I’m delighted with the progress we are making on revitalizing the Harvey Nichols brand, and I’m looking forward to continuing on this exciting journey at Harvey Nichols with the fabulous team.”
Indeed, Cartwright is spearheading a four-year refurbishment project at the Knightsbridge store that saw the opening last month of 28,000 square feet men’s wear space.
Cartwright, who left Burberry in 2013 before Bailey was named ceo, was an architect of the company’s success during her nine-year tenure. By the time she left, the company was turning over more than two billion pounds, or $3.14 billion, in revenue.
The day her departure was announced, Burberry’s share price closed down 6.5 percent. A chartered accountant who has held top jobs at Egg and Granada Group, Cartwright has been at the helm of Harvey Nichols since 2014, having replaced Joseph Wan.
Burberry declined to comment.
According to industry sources, however, Bailey is driving all the changes that are being considered at Burberry and weighing his options. The appointment of a senior supporting figure may or may not feature as part of his strategic outline on May 18.
Earlier this week, UBS analysts Helen Brand and Fred Speirs published a report saying Burberry has room to improve as a retailer, with opportunities to pump up its sales densities and leverage the brand recognition it has in China and the US.
The bankers at UBS said they are waiting to see what Burberry principals have to say on May 18. They are expecting to hear details about how Burberry plans to drive a more productive retail business as well as about its cost efficiency plans.
Burberry has seen revenue and profit growth wither over the past year, although UBS said it expects sales to recover in the second quarter of the current 2016-17 year, with like-for-like growth rising 4 percent.