LONDON — Mulberry is making further inroads into the Far East with a joint venture set for Japan, as the company reported higher profits and sales for the first six months of its fiscal year.
On Thursday, Mulberry Group plc said profits in the first half ended Sept. 30 more than tripled to 11.3 million pounds, or $18.31 million, on the back of growing international sales.
Sales rose 61.8 percent to 72.3 million, or $117.1 million, boosted by new store openings and international revenues. All figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the period.
“Our strategy to focus on international expansion continues to bear fruit,” said Godfrey Davis, chairman and chief executive officer.
“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.”
Sales in the first weeks of the current half were also on the rise: For the 10 weeks to Dec. 3, retail sales were up 18 percent and underlying sales rose 14 percent against strong comparatives.
Orders for the spring season are up 29 percent, with three months of the selling season remaining.
Nine store openings are planned for the second half. Davis told WWD that a unit would open in San Francisco in April, while the company was also scouting for space in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities.
Davis said he has not seen any evidence of a sales slowdown. “I look at those weekly results and they’re not showing evidence of one,” he said. He said that, in the U.K., customers are increasingly buying items in “safer, less fashion-driven colors.”
He also confirmed that a joint venture for distribution in the Japanese market was going ahead. The joint venture is owned by Club 21 and Mammina Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. IMH is one of the largest department store chains in Japan. Club 21 is controlled by Ong Beng Seng and Christina Ong, who also have a 57 percent stake in Mulberry through a holding company called Challice Ltd.
Through the terms of the new agreement, IMH will progressively make prime space available for Mulberry at its department stores. The 10-year agreement foresees the opening of a series of shop-in-shops, as well was Mulberry flagships in Tokyo and Osaka.
“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