Burberry shares continue to drop over UBS downgrade and lack of Christopher Bailey successor


Shares are still falling in the fashion company (Source: Getty)

Burberry reported solid growth for the first half of the year yesterday, but its shares closed down almost 10 per cent at 1,787p.

Investors were unconvinced by new CEO Marco Gobbetti's ambitions to take the brand more upmarket, with optimism dented by memories of rival Mulberry's failed move away from affordable luxury to a high-end position.

The market was left unsure who would be creatively steering Gobbetti's "brand-first" vision for the company.

However many in the fashion industry believe Phoebe Philo, currently creative director of Céline and formerly Chloé, will succeed Bailey.

Read more: Christopher Bailey is bowing out of Burberry

Today Burberry shares slid again, hitting a low of 1,709.5p. This afternoon the price was down almost four per cent at 1,717p.

But according to an announcement issued today, major investor Albert Frere - the richest man in Belgium - took the opportunity of the share price decline to increase his holding in the company from four per cent to six per cent.

In addition to continuing weaker sentiment from yesterday, UBS issued a downgrade on the company this morning. Analyst Helen Brand changed its rating from "buy" to "neutral", citing the higher costs anticipated as part of Gobbetti's strategy.

"The payback of this investment will be improving like-for-like growth," she said. "But visibility is limited here with no creative director even yet announced."

However, she said that the renewed focus on digital channels was an "appropriate strategy" to attract new consumers and millennials.

Bernstein also cut its rating on the stock to "underperform".

Read more: Growth returns to the fashion industry after 14 months of decline