LONDON — Losses at Mulberry nearly doubled to 9.8 million pounds from 5.3 million pounds in the first half ended Sept. 28 as the company continues to suffer from one of its top U.K. accounts, House of Fraser, going into administration last year. It also pointed to a challenging and “increasingly promotion-led” U.K. retail environment.
Revenues grew slightly to 68.9 million pounds from 68.3 million pounds in 2018. Growth was mostly driven by international sales, which were up 12 percent, as well as digital sales, which rose 23 percent. The U.K., Mulberry’s home market and most significant one, was down 4 percent.
Asia continues to be a growth driver for the British label, which now has 32 retail stores in the region. As reported, Mulberry took back full control of its Korean subsidiary.
“We have made further progress with our strategy through continued investment in a direct-to-customer, international, digital and omnichannel model,” said Mulberry chief executive officer Thierry Andretta, who has been working on re-shaping Mulberry’s business model, with 90 percent of sales now direct-to-consumer.
“We are seeing the benefit of recent initiatives in Asia, which remains a significant growth opportunity. This will support our ambition for international to become a greater proportion of group revenue.”
Andretta also pointed to the importance of the company’s bag business and its efforts to use recycled materials, leather from environmentally certified tanneries and accessible price points.
New bag styles accounted for 80 percent of full-price bag sales, and to ensure the company keeps up with the need for newness, Mulberry has also forged a partnership with the Swedish label Acne, debuting a collaborative handbag line earlier this month.
As part of the collaboration, Mulberry has made an updated version of its signature Bayswater and Scotchgrain styles with multiple buckles.
“Collaborations are an interesting way of creating something new that also allow us to speak to new customers at the same time as offering something innovative to our existing audiences,” Andretta said. “We are always looking at ways to speak to a new generation of customers through product innovation.”