WWD.com/accessories-news/financial/mulberry-profits-more-than-quadruple-in-year-3660339/
government-trade
government-trade

Mulberry Plots Expansion in U.S., Asia

Sales at British accessories firm rise 69 percent in year.

LONDON — Fueled by robust international sales — and by the U.S. market in particular — profits at Mulberry Group plc more than quadrupled to 17.1 million pounds, or $28 million, in the year ended March 31.

 

Mulberry said Thursday that revenues rose 69 percent to 121.6 million pounds, or $199.4 million, from 72.1 million pounds, or $118.2 million, due to brisk growth both in international markets and online.

 

“Our sales in New York last year were up more than 120 percent, and in the first 10 weeks of this year they were up 122 percent,” said Godfrey Davis, Mulberry’s chairman and chief executive officer in an interview.
Mulberry has Manhattan stores on Bleecker Street and on Madison Avenue, and Davis said the brand was readying a 5,500-square-foot flagship on Spring Street in SoHo for a late September or early October opening.

 

“And from there, we’ll be looking to roll out our U.S. business. We’re looking for properties on the West Coast, with an eye to opening our first store there after Christmas,” he added.

 

The brand is also planning a 40th birthday party in New York on Sept. 12 during New York Fashion Week and another event that will take place during London Fashion Week.

 

In Thursday’s statement, Davis said the company had delivered a “step change” in profitability in 2010-11, while strong demand was continuing in all markets in the current year.

 

In the first 10 weeks of the new year, retail and wholesale sales each rose 38 percent compared with the corresponding period last year.

 

In addition to the Spring Street unit, stores are expected to open in Amsterdam, Germany, Korea, China and Bangkok. Davis added that 10 to 12 stores would open in Germany, Switzerland and Austria over the next few years, and that Club 21 was looking to roll the brand out in China over the next two to three years.

 

 

Club 21 is owned by the Ong family, Mulberry’s majority shareholders.

 

“Asia is a big growth story for us,” said Davis, adding that Mulberry was hoping to have 20 shops in Korea — it currently has 12 stores there — by the end of the year.

 

The company will also be expanding its factory in Somerset, England, with the aim of adding 30 percent to its U.K. production capacity.