LONDON — After a tumultuous few years, Mulberry Group is on the rebound and paving the way for the arrival of new creative director Johnny Coca in July.
The brand said retail sales in the current year, which began April 1, have increased 17 percent, with like-for-like revenue up 15 percent in the 10 weeks to June 6.
Mulberry is also slashing its ready-to-wear prices as part of the recent overhaul of its pricing architecture, and will play in the lucrative advanced contemporary space, rather than the high-end designer one. Rtw accounts for less than 10 percent of sales.
Shares on the London Stock Exchange inched up 0.2 percent at 9.07 pounds, or $12.40, on Thursday, after the company updated the market on its annual performance and indicated how much work lies ahead.
For the 2014-15 fiscal year, Mulberry reported a loss of 1.4 million pounds, or $2.2 million, as sales fell and the brand re-shaped its core strategies.
Sales were down 9 percent to 148.7 million pounds, or $237.9 million, dampened by a 29 percent fall in wholesale revenue. Retail sales grew 1 percent during the period, fueled by new store openings.
Digital sales were up 15 percent in the year, accounting for 12 percent of group sales. During the period the company opened four directly operated international stores and one concession.
All figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.
As reported, Mulberry has recently retooled its prices to focus on bags and accessories costing 500 to 1,000 pounds, or $775 to $1,550, in an effort to recapture its core customer who had drifted away in past years as the brand attempted to move upmarket too quickly.
Leather goods account for more than 90 percent of sales, and more than 50 percent of handbags are made in the U.K. by Mulberry’s factories.
Godfrey Davis, Mulberry’s chairman, said recent bestsellers include the mini Lily bag, which costs 350 pounds, or $478, and the Tessie, which is priced at 695 pounds, or $950.
Mulberry said that, as a result of the new pricing, bags within the new “core” range represented 66 percent of the assortment for spring, compared with 45 percent in the previous year.
Going forward, Mulberry plans to align shoes and rtw with bags in order to make the collections “more relevant” to the group’s core customers.
“We’ll be offering competitive, affordable rtw,” said Mulberry’s newly appointed ceo Thierry Andretta.
He said no garment would be priced more than 1,000 pounds, or $1,367. Coats will cost in the range of 800 pounds, or $1,093, while knits will range from 295 pounds to 495 pounds, or $403 to $677. Shoes, which are made in Italy, will cost 350 pounds, or $478.
Andretta said Coca, who will join on July 8, was committed to the company’s new strategies, and that his first outing for the brand would be a pre-collection to be unveiled in December.
He said it is still to be determined whether Mulberry would stage a presentation during London Fashion Week next February to showcase Coca’s first fall collection.
The Mulberry’s in-house design team’s last collection was for resort 2016, and there are no plans to stage a presentation or show in September during London Fashion Week.
Andretta said the company was committed to fortifying its position in the U.K. while continuing to pursue an international growth strategy. “We are focused upon translating the luxury values and British-ness of the Mulberry brand to a global audience,” he said.