Mulberry has slumped to a first-half loss after a disastrous push upmarket, but claimed its new strategy is working with sales rising in recent weeks.
The fashion brand said retail sales climbed 8% from a year ago in the nine weeks to 29 November, boosted by strong online sales, which rose 18%. The company made a loss before tax of £1.1m in the six months to 30 September, compared with a profit of £7.2m last year. Retail revenues slid 9% to £45.1m while wholesale revenues were down 31% to £19.6m.
Mulberry ousted its chief executive, Bruno Guillon, in March after his attempt to propel the brand into the luxury elite alongside the likes of Prada and Gucci, by selling bags that cost more than £1,000, alienated its core customers in the UK.
The executive chairman, Godfrey Davis, who replaced the former Hermès executive, said: “After a difficult couple of years, the steps that we have taken to return Mulberry to growth are beginning to bear fruit. We have worked hard to re-engage with our customers.”
Under Davis’s stewardship, Mulberry returned to its roots and focused on bags priced between £500 and £800 to win back customers. It highlighted buoyant sales of its new Tessie and Cara Delevingne bags, the opening of stores in Las Vegas and Hamburg, and the introduction of a click and collect service in the UK.
Last week Mulberry finally announced a new creative director to replace Emma Hill who left 18 months ago. It recruited Johnny Coca from Céline, where he has been responsible for some of the most copied bags and shoes of the past decade. He will join in July.
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