Alienating its core British customers, and sluggish sales overseas, sent Mulberry pre-tax profits tumbling for the year to the end of March, but in spite of an 87% fall (down to £1.9m compared to £14m a year earlier), the handbag maker remains positive about the future.
Two years ago this week Mulberry announced the departure of its Creative Director Emma Hill, who notably created the sell-out Alexa handbag and had been credited with the British brand’s show stopping success. After six years, Hill resigned over management disagreements and Mulberry has had turbulence ever since.
A little investor faith was restored when CEO Bruno Guillon was asked to leave last year, along with his ideas about turning Mulberry into a mini Hermès by increasing prices to reach the upper market. Now stock has stabilised and recent recruits Thierry Andretta (CEO) and Jonny Coca (Creative Director, starting next month) have eased discerning shareholders.
This morning, the fashion house recorded weak numbers for its full year results but Chairman Godfrey Davis remains confident.
“We have seen a positive uplift in sales since November as a result of the actions we took at the beginning of the year. We have focused on creating desirable new products across the entire Mulberry range whilst continuing to invest for the longer term. Our initiatives to re-engage with our customers have delivered promising results. Under the leadership of Thierry Andretta and the creative direction of Johnny Coca, we look forward to the Mulberry brand fulfilling its global potential.”
Thierry Andretta, Chief Executive Officer, added: “I am pleased that the strategy we approved as a Board last year is beginning to bear fruit. We are committed to strengthening our position in the UK whilst continuing to pursue our international growth strategy. We are focused upon translating the luxury values and Britishness of the Mulberry brand to a global audience.”
The introduction of more affordable product lines, with price points between £500-£1500, helped strengthen retail revenue.