Mulberry bags a half-year profit in Asia


DEMAND FOR high-end handbags among Asia’s increasing numbers of affluent consumers has led to a more than trebling of interim pre-tax half-year profit at Mulberry, the British luxury accessory brand.

Mulberry, whose handbags cost £350-£3,500 and include the popular Alexa range, yesterday said the opening of five new stores in the Asia-Pacific region had spearheaded its rapid growth over the past few years.

Mulberry is one of several UK “affordable luxury” labels to prosper in recent years, and promotes its “Englishness” as a selling point.

“Our strategy to focus on international expansion continues to bear fruit,” Godfrey Davis, chief executive, said. “Against the backdrop of economic uncertainty, Mulberry continues to build market share internationally and we remain cautiously optimistic about the future prospects of the business.”

The company also outlined plans to open nine stores in the second half, and in October signed a 10-year distribution deal to sell its products in south-east Asia.

Wholesale shipments rose 93 per cent in the half, boosted by increased production capacity and higher demand from abroad for Mulberry’s shoulder bags, holdalls, tote bags and messenger bags. However, Mulberry said sales growth had slowed, with like-for-like sales up 14 per cent for the 10 weeks to December 3rd.

Mulberry shares, which have risen 75 per cent over the past 12 months, yesterday were up 36p, or 2.4 per cent, to £15.30, valuing the luxury goods groups equity at £865m. – (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011)