Luxury goods retailer Burberry has announced plans to cut hundreds of jobs as it attempts to recover from the effects of the coronavirus on its sales.

The retailer said that 150 UK office jobs were at risk of going as it sought to cut costs to “reinvest in customer-facing activities”, with a further 350 jobs around the world being reviewed. 

The London-based brand said it had begun consultations with affected UK staff and hoped to minimise redundancies through redeployments where possible.

The announcement comes on the same day Burberry published a trading update for its first financial quarter, which saw sales “severely impacted by the drop in luxury demand” spurred by the pandemic. 

Burberry also said it “expects it will take time to return to pre-crisis levels with the resumption of overseas travel”. 

Comparative sales declined 41% in the first quarter, which eased to -20% in June as lockdown measures around the world began to ease. 

By region, Asia Pacific fell 10% in the quarter, though growth began to return in June. Sales in Europe fell 75% due to lockdowns and restricted travel but Burberry said sales improved in June. Sales in the Americas plummeted 70%. 

Based on first-quarter trading, Burberry said it expected sales in the second quarter to be down between 15% and 20%, while wholesale figures for the first half would be down between 40% and 50%. 

Burberry chief executive Marco Gobbetti said: “In Q1, sales were severely impacted by the drop in luxury demand from Covid-19 and we expect it will take time to return to pre-crisis levels with the resumption of overseas travel. We are encouraged by the improving trends in all regions and the promising exit rate for June. 

“We saw an excellent response to new product launches in recovering economies as well as online. Demand for leather goods was particularly strong in Mainland China and Korea, bringing new, younger luxury customers to the brand. 

“As we enter the second phase of our strategy, we are sharpening our focus on product and making other organisational changes to increase our agility and generate structural savings that we will be able to reinvest into consumer-facing activities to further strengthen our luxury positioning.”