Mulberry’s UK sales were down 11% in the six months to 30 September as it felt the impact of the collapse of House of Fraser in the summer.
The British luxury house said its UK sales had remained profitable however and that it had signed a concession agreement with House of Fraser rival John Lewis.
Overall group sales in the period were down 8% to £68.3m while its underlying loss loss before tax hit £3.6m (2017: loss of £0.6m). Once the costs associated with the collapse of House of Fraser and the set up of its South Korean business were taken into account, the reported loss before tax was £8.2m.
However the brand’s focus on international markets, in particular Asia, was paying up with international sales up 13% and its new Korean and Japanese entities were complete with its own network of stores in the regions now totalling 29. Global digital sales were also up, by 5%, with e-commerce now accounting for 17% of all sales.
During the period Mulberry secured digital partnerships in China with VIP.com, Secoo and Toplife and said more partnerships were in the pipeline. It also opened its new flagship store on Regent Street in September and secured a new eyewear licensing deal with De Rigo Vision.
Yesterday it was revealed that Mulberry would be relocating to a new, larger store in Glasgow next year where it will unveil a store based on its Regent Street concept.
“We are delivering on the strategy to develop Mulberry as a global luxury brand with new subsidiaries in Korea and Japan, the creation of Digital partnerships in China and the additions to our own store network in Asia,” said CEO Thierry Andretta.
“In the UK, our most important market, we are pleased to have signed a concession agreement with John Lewis & Partners, advancing our direct to consumer reach. We are proud to be the largest manufacturer of luxury leather goods in the UK and remain committed to supporting ‘Made in England’ through our two Somerset factories.
“We are confident that our focus on international growth is the correct strategy to develop Mulberry. We are well positioned for the Christmas trading period, which as ever, will determine our full year result,” Andretta added.