LONDON — Profits at Mulberry Group plc more than tripled in the six months to Sept. 30 to 3.3 million pounds, or $4.9 million, from 1 million pounds, or $1.5 million, on the back of strong, full-price sales growth in robust markets including the U.K. and the U.S.
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And sales show no signs of flagging: In the ten weeks to Dec. 4, Mulberry said global retail sales rose 47 percent, and that full-year performance was likely to exceed market expectations. The spring 2011 wholesale order book is 91 percent higher than last year and orders have not yet closed, the firm said.
The group reported the results just days after opening a 5,400-square-foot flagship at 50 Bond Street, an open, environmentally friendly space that showcases the brand’s accessories and ready to wear together for the first time.
“It’s the largest single-floor space on Bond Street — there aren’t even any pillars,” said Godfrey Davis, chairman and chief executive officer, during a walk-through. “And it was a logical move for us. Finally, we’re all on one floor.” Mulberry’s former shop, at number 42, was smaller, narrow and on various levels.
The new flagship, formerly a Samsonite store, has dry stone walls for energy conservation, lighting and cooling systems that adjust to the outside environment, and low-voltage lightbulbs fitted with brass plates to boost their output.
The store interior is based on a rambling English garden that customers are invited to explore. The shop fit is changeable, with fittings such as a cagelike wooden “folly” that now showcases shoes, that can be collapsed and moved.
The store also has artsy features: There are brass tablets made by Jonathan Ellery set into the concrete floor and engraved with lyrics from David Bowie’s song “Maid of Bond Street,” a daybed designed by Rachel Whiteread and furniture from Established & Sons.
Davis declined to give first-year sales projections for the store. Georgia Fendley, Mulberry’s brand director, said that while it was too early to pinpoint any sales trends, the brand had seen a “steep rise” in rtw sales and that sales overall were better than last year.
Sales in the six-month period rose 38.4 percent to 44.7 million pounds, or $67.5 million, from 32.3 million pounds, or $48.8 million, with the Alexa range of bags and accessories among the bestsellers. All figures have been converted from the pound at average exchange rates for the period.
Overall retail sales in the period were up 30 percent, and sales in New York are “significantly ahead of plan,” the company said. Davis said the company is in the final stages of agreeing to terms on a 5,000-square-foot flagship on Spring Street in SoHo. That store, housed in a 19th century building, will be Mulberry’s third in Manhattan.
As a result of the demand and retail rollout, the company plans to expand its factory in Somerset, which will create 60 new jobs.