The Prodigal Label: Thomas Burberry Line Relaunches in the U.K.

LONDON — Burberry has a new baby for Britain — and eventually perhaps the rest of the world.The company’s relaunched Thomas...

LONDON — Burberry has a new baby for Britain — and eventually perhaps the rest of the world.

The company’s relaunched Thomas Burberry line is ready to make its U.K. debut, building off an existing strong customer base in Spain and Portugal. In its latest incarnation, the collection is full of collegiate, youthful classics — with a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys feel to it.

But there’s no mystery to the brand’s potential. While Burberry executives declined to reveal sales targets, at least one analyst estimates the line could reach worldwide sales of $100 million in the longterm based on the success Thomas Burberry has had in Iberia. It would be another important leg in thecontinuing evolution of the brand being overseen by Burberry’s chief executive officer Rose Marie Bravo and her team, and would add a hefty sum to the company’ssales last year of about $730 million.

Thomas Burberry, which is priced 30 to 40 percent below Burberry’s core London collection, is aimed at women and men 16 to 30 years old. It is designed by a newly formed creative team overseen by the brand’s design director Christopher Bailey.

Starting in August, it will be sold through U.K. stores including Urban Outfitters, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges — but not at Burberry shops. At Selfridges, it will be sold on the third floor alongside Earl Jean, Maharishi and Juicy Couture. There are no immediate plans for stand-alone Thomas Burberry stores, the company said.

Bravo said it was time to bring back the ThomasBurberry line in the U.K. after a two-year absence.The line was put on hold in Britain as Bravo’s teamfocused on revamping the core London collectionand also the development of its Prorsum designerline. But the firm continued to sell ThomasBurberry in Spain and Portugal, which are its twomain markets.

“We wanted first to digest the changes we’re makingwith the core lines, and then focus on Thomas Burberry,”she told WWD in a telephone interview. “We also wanted torethink the Thomas Burberry line, and ensure that it was coherent with the other Burberry collections. We wantedit to evolve naturally out of those collections.”

In the past, the Thomas Burberry line was item driven rather than design driven, and was focused mainly onmen’s wear.
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