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Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts thanks IT for 49% profit jump

SAP vital part of fashion house’s supply chain

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Angela Ahrendts, chief executive at Burberry, has directly thanked the fashion company’s IT department for its leading role in a 49 percent profit leap.

Burberry saw profits in the first half of the financial year to 30 September jump to £129 million, from £86 million in the same period a year earlier.

Changes to IT, as the company rolls out the SAP enterprise resource planning system globally, have played a leading role alongside store changes in the company’s profit jump.

The SAP rollout has largely been focused on Asia and Australasia in the last two years, with a rollout in Hong Kong and Australia last year, and Korea, Taiwan and south east Asia this year. One of the largest Asian SAP rollouts will take place in China next year, before a rollout in the Middle East.

The company is also testing an unnamed e-commerce platform as it looks for online sales growth, and targeting better social networking promotions. It now has three million Facebook fans and recently broadcast a fashion show live to 650,000 people on the web. It added 50 percent to e-commerce sales in the first half.

Calling it a “strong first half”, Ahrendts today told Burberry shareholders: “The continued focus on the brand, ongoing investment in our digital, IT and retail infrastructure, especially in China, and a disciplined approach to driving growth underpin our confidence in delivering long term sustainable returns.”

In the first half results announcement, Burberry told investors that it “continued to evolve and improve” its back office functions, “facilitated by the investment made in IT, supply chain and infrastructure in previous years”.

It added that a “more disciplined approach is being taken across the company to optimise monthly flow and replenishment” of stock using the new systems.

SAP UK & Ireland User Group Annual Conference

21-23 November 2010, Manchester,

Further information available here

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