LONDON — A surge in demand for handbags and small leather goods drove sales and profits up at Mulberry Group plc in the year ended March 31.
The British accessories brand, which is quoted on London’s AIM stock exchange, said Thursday that profits climbed 15 percent to 2.97 million pounds, or $4.75 million, from 2.58 million, or $4.13 million.
Sales in the 12-month period rose 23 percent to 72.1 million pounds, or $115.4 million, from 58.6 million pounds, or $93.8 million.
All figures have been calculated at average exchange rates for the period.
The upward trend is continuing: Retail sales were up 36 percent during the first 10 weeks of the current year, while wholesale deliveries for autumn are forecast to be 84 percent above last year.
Mulberry’s chairman and chief executive Godfrey Davis said the company is looking for a third retail unit in Manhattan and will be opening a showroom there as a base for the business in North America. Mulberry also plans to open its first showroom in Paris.
“The U.S. business is small but growing fast. In the first 10 weeks of the current year, the New York stores saw a 103 percent increase in sales, and wholesale is up 200 percent there. But I have to add we were coming from a low base,” he said.
In Asia, wholesale revenues are expected to increase by 100 percent this year, with Mulberry’s franchise partners planning to open stores in Sydney, Hong Kong, Korea, Qatar, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur over the next 12 months.
Davis added that Mulberry was also seeking planning approval to expand its factory in Somerset, England, to keep up with demand. The brand also manufactures in other countries including Turkey and Spain.
In the year ended March 31, Davis said, many wholesale clients had braced themselves for hard times and slashed their orders. When demand surged, they were left empty-handed.
Bestsellers in the period included the new Alexa bag — named for the British TV presenter Alexa Chung — and brand stalwarts the Bayswater, Mitzy and Daria ranges.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast