Luxury brand Burberry said today it would cut about 500 jobs globally, including 150 British-based office roles, as it forecast no quick recovery in demand, particularly from high-spending tourists. 

The company announced the layoffs alongside a 45% drop in first-quarter like-for-like sales.

This reflected store closures following lockdowns in Europe and the US and a dearth of long-haul travellers. 

Chief executive Marco Gobbetti said it would take time for demand to return to pre-crisis levels, but he was "encouraged by the improving trends in all regions" and a revival in sales towards the end of June. 

Shares in Burberry, which is attracting younger customers in China and other Asian markets with new ranges from designer Riccardo Tisci, were trading down 6% today. 

Citi analysts said like-for-like sales were better than the 49% drop the market expected, but the outlook for the second quarter of like-for-like sales down 15-20%. 

They said they expected consensus full-year operating profit forecasts to come down by at least 10-15%. 

The company's chief financial officer Julie Brown said the sales decline had eased during the quarter as the level of closures decreased to 15% from 60%, led by mainland China, where trading in June was at pre-Covid levels. 

She said the job losses would not affect staff in its British stores or its manufacturing sites in Yorkshire, where production of its famous trench coats had restarted. 

The jobs cuts, which affect about 5% of its global total, would result in annualised savings of £55m at a one-off cost of £45m. 

Burberry reported retail revenue of £257m, down 48%, in the quarter.