Burberry Seeks In-Store Traffic Gain With iPad ‘Retail Theater’

Burberry Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest luxury retailer, will let customers order online at selected stores from its fashion show this month, expanding on a web-based program in an effort to encourage shop visits.

Burberry will set up Apple Inc. iPad tablet computers at 25 outlets worldwide allowing shoppers to browse and order from the spring-summer 2011 collection immediately during the live broadcast of its London Fashion Week women’s wear show on Sept. 21, the company said today in a statement. Items purchased during the so-called Retail Theater will be delivered in seven weeks, three months faster than their arrival in stores.

The company has allowed customers since September 2009 to order items online during fashion-show webcasts to enable early delivery. Today’s announcement, and the limited-edition April Showers apparel and accessory range offered that month, signal London-based Burberry’s drive to act more like a fast-fashion retailer, according to Peter Farren, an analyst at Bryan Garnier & Co. with a “buy” recommendation on the stock.

“Speeding up their delivery times is certainly a key part of their strategy” of matching Inditex SA and Hennes & Mauritz AB in selling designer clothes to a wider public, Farren said in a phone interview. “The whole point is to create excitement with new products and keep people coming back to stores.”

Online Growth

Burberry, known for its plaid designs, said in July that revenue in the three months through June rose 27 percent, as “digital initiatives continued to drive awareness and sales.” Online revenue in the year ended March 31 jumped 60 percent, according to the annual report. That compares with 7 percent overall sales growth.

Traffic on the retailer’s website increased 30 percent in the four days after its women’s autumn-winter 2010 collection was streamed live earlier this year, Jenna Littler, a Burberry spokeswoman, said today by phone. Customers were able to buy the collection during the four-day period.

The Retail Theater network, which is being developed in cooperation with Verizon Communications Inc., “is at the heart of our retail growth strategy,” Chief Executive Officer Angela Ahrendts said in today’s statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Roberts in Paris at aroberts36@bloomberg.net.

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