Burberry to maintain employee pay through coronavirus crisis


British luxury brand Burberry (BRBY.L) will continue to pay its employees who are unable to fulfil their roles because of store or site closures during the coronavirus crisis and will not rely on government help, it said on Friday.

The group, which warned last month its fourth-quarter sales would be 30% lower due to the pandemic, said it was continuing to look hard at its cost base, reducing spend on non-essential areas.

While many UK companies have utilized the government’s furlough scheme, which sees employees paid 80% of their salary, Burberry said it would not rely on government support for jobs in the UK where more than a third of its workers are based.

All of Burberry’s UK stores are closed as part of the country’s lockdown to stem the spread of the virus.

Shares in Burberry were down 2.6% at 0705 GMT, extending 2020 losses to 41%.

The group also said its senior leaders and directors will take a voluntary 20% pay cut from April through June, with the directors’ 20% donated to a charity fund.

Burberry has turned over its trench coat factory in Castleford, northern England, to make protective gowns for healthcare workers tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

It is also sourcing surgical masks through its supply chain and supplying them to Britain’s health service and charities such as Marie Curie. To date, is has donated more than 100,000 pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE).