Mulberry sacks recent sales growth, toasts ‘strong recovery’ in UK



Demand for luxury handbags has been high in the months following the easing of lockdown rules on the High Street, new figures from the Mulberry show.

Fashion stores were among those that could welcome customers again in April when non-essential retailers were allowed to reopen in England from the last lockdown. Mulberry was among the brands affected by temporary branch closures last year and saw sales drop 23% in the 12 months leading up to March 27.

But today, accessories brand Mulberry, listed on AIM, also pointed out that it has been encouraging trade since the start of the current fiscal year at the end of March. The group’s turnover is 45% ahead of the same period in 2020, when brick-and-mortar retailing was hammered by the pandemic.

Mulberry added that retail revenues were 30% higher, helped by “a strong recovery in the UK”, as well as growth in China.

The company, led by Thierry Andretta, saw a strong reaction from customers to its relaunch of the popular Alexa bag last November. Last week he unveiled two new bags in collaboration with designer and presenter Alexa Chung, priced at £ 795 and £ 1,095. Andretta said the range is selling “very well”.

The boss added that attendance is still below pre-pandemic levels, but a number of buyers are spending more.

In the year to March 27, the company saw a 23% drop in sales to £ 115million, but underlying profit before tax rose to £ 5.9million from a loss of £ 14.2 million.

During the period, digital sales jumped 55%. Mulberry offered virtual appointments to customers who were unable to make it to stores.

Shares jumped 7%, or 20.4p, to 310.4p.

Elsewhere, shares of Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury also improved, up 9.8p to 359.8p.

The company said that in the four months ended June 30, sales climbed 28%, “maintaining momentum” after a strong performance last year. The bestsellers of the period included the outdoor kitchen by Tom Kerridge.

Bloomsbury added that its consumer arm saw strong sales of print and electronic books.

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