Mulberry Back in Black After Rise in UK Store and Online Sales

Georgia May Jagger in Mulberry’s spring/summer 2015 campaign. Photograph: Mulberry/PA

by Sarah Butler, The Guardian, December 14, 2015

Mulberry is back in the black and back on the catwalk after the British luxury brand benefited from a surge in sales at British stores and online.

The Somerset-based firm reported a pretax profit of £100,000 for the six months to 30 September, compared with a £1.1m loss in the same period a year before, as it recovered from an ill-judged move upmarket.

Sales at established UK stores rose 14% over the period while online sales were up 20% to £7.9m. That helped offset an 11% decline in wholesale, as stores in Hong Kong, China and other parts of Asia remained cautious buyers amid economic problems in the region.

Sales at international stores rose 12%, helped by new openings in Europe. But sales at established overseas outlets slid 3% as Mulberry said north America had been “challenging”.

Thierry Andretta, who stepped in as chief executive in April, said the fall in wholesale was partly the result of overseas partners running down stocks ahead of February’s launch of the first collection by Mulberry’s new designer, Johnny Coca. He said: “There are great expectations for us and we are optimistic looking to the future in these regions.”

The brand will showcase the designs by Coca, who previously worked at French fashion house Céline, at its first London fashion week show since 2013.

Andretta said Mulberry’s strategy to emphasise its Britishness and improve quality at accessible prices was paying off. He said: “We are giving exactly what people are expecting from the brand. A bag made to last and really good quality.”

Coca’s designs will broaden Mulberry’s collections further into footwear and clothing – areas that had been reduced as it focused on improving sales of its bags.

Mulberry has been without a creative head since the departure of Emma Hill in the summer of 2013. The influential designer, who was credited with turning Mulberry into a sought-after brand favoured by celebrities such as Alexa Chung and Lana Del Rey, left after clashing with former boss Bruno Guillon.

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This article was written by Sarah Butler from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.