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Mulberry warning as sales falter
Mulberry saw annual like-for-like sales growth slow from 11 per cent in December to six per cent
British handbag maker Mulberry has warned its profits will miss expectations after a post-Christmas slowdown in the luxury goods market.
The Somerset-based firm, whose explosive growth of recent years has made it one of Britain's biggest export success stories, said sales over the last 10 weeks were disappointing.
Its shares slid 15% after the profits warning while rival Burberry dropped 4% lower on fears the previously resilient luxury goods sector is feeling the strain of the global economic downturn.
Mulberry said: "Retail sales over the Christmas period were generally in line with expectations. However, trading across the retail portfolio during the last 10 weeks has been disappointing, including a reduction in tourist spending in the London stores."
Annual like-for-like sales growth has slowed from 11% in December to 6%.
It is Mulberry's second profits alert in the last six months, having warned in October about cautious buying by Asian wholesale customers and the impact of its own actions to improve the quality of its distribution network.
Revenues for the year to March 31 are expected to be in the region of £165 million, resulting in profits of around £26 million.
Last year, it recorded a 54% jump in pre-tax profits to £36 million after a series of upgrades on the back of strong demand for its Alexa bag and the Del Rey bag inspired by American singer Lana Del Rey.
The company recently announced plans to open a second factory in Somerset to keep up with demand.
Mulberry chief executive Bruno Guillon said: "After three years of rapid growth, Mulberry has experienced a year of consolidation whilst we build the foundations for future growth. We continue to reinforce Mulberry's luxury positioning through an enhanced focus on creativity, craftsmanship and quality."
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