Mulberry bags profit but sees shares slump

 
Kasmira Jefford
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MULBERRY lost almost a quarter of its market value yesterday after the British luxury handbag maker reported a marked slowdown in recent trading growth, despite full-year profits increasing almost two-fold.

While pre-tax profit rose 54 per cent to £36m in the year to March, broadly in line with forecasts, the firm’s recent trading performance fell surprisingly short of expectations.

Retail sales at stores open at least a year nudged up three per cent in the last 10 weeks to 9 June. This contrasts with a 26 per cent rise in like-for-like sales during the full-year.

Total revenue for the year grew 38 per cent to £168.5m – also falling short of forecasts – with international sales increasing 61 per cent.

Chairman Godfrey Davis said: “While the current economic conditions make the short term trading outlook more challenging in some markets, we remain confident about Mulberry’s long term future.”

The group is stepping up its expansion overseas to exploit more lucrative luxury markets, with plans to open 15 to 20 international stores this year.

Its shares, which had risen 34 per cent since the start of the year, closed down 22.5 per cent to 1,560p yesterday.