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Burberry cuts lead times with monthly product drops

British luxury fashion brand Burberry is to launch monthly product releases, joining a number of high-end rivals in experimenting with shorter production cycles in a bid to keep customers hooked.

Burberry will be launching new products on the 17th day of every month as part of plans to "excite customers with new deliveries and frequent communication."

The monthly releases, designed by the fashion house's chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci – called B Series – will range in scale and availability, and have started with a limited-edition run of a unisex white T-shirt and jersey sweatshirt featuring Burberry's new Thomas Burberry monogram in red.

The first B Series was made available at 12:00pm GMT on Wednesday (17 October) for 24 hours, exclusively through Burberry's Instagram and WeChat accounts, and for the first time through the Line and Kakao platforms.

B Series was teased through a surprise product drop earlier last month as part of a series of releases announced by Riccardo Tisci ahead of his debut Burberry show, which took place on 17 September. The next B Series will be made available on 17 November.

Burberry follows a number of other high-end fashion brands experimenting with shorter production cycles. According to Reuters, Italy's Moncler ditched runways last year to focus on monthly launches in its own stores, while US streetwear brand Supreme used the so-called "product drops" to turn its hoodies into cult items.

Burberry will still produce regular summer and winter catwalk collections and others in-between.

The company reportedly said in September that its plan to create more targeted collections would help it limit waste, after it came under fire for destroying almost $40m in stock last year.

According to its annual report, the monetary value of finished goods the firm physically destroyed in 2018 was up 6.3% from GBP26.9m in 2017 to GBP28.6m (US$37.7m), including GBP10.4m of destruction for its beauty inventory.

Burberry had defended its decision in July, noting the goods were destroyed in a "responsible manner", but last month said it would put an end to the practice of destroying unsaleable products, with immediate effect. The company also said Riccardo Tisci's September debut collection for Burberry would not feature fur, with the brand promising to phase out existing real fur products in its collections.

Burberry was one of the front-runners in the 'See now, buy now' phenomenon. In a recent article on just-style we looked at some of the implications for the supply chain: What 'see now, buy now' means for the supply chain.