Mulberry has spent the past year rebuilding its business following the departure of CEO Bruno Guillon, whose plan to elevate the British heritage brand with pricier handbags turned away loyal customers and led to a period of steep sales declines. The company's efforts to rebuild are now starting to pay off.
In a trading update released Thursday, Mulberry reported a return to growth. Retail sales for the full year ending March 31 were up 1 percent, thanks to strong sales in its international stores and on its website. Sales in Mulberry's home turf, the UK, were down 7 percent, largely to due to poor performance in its outlets, which saw a 12 percent decline. While we won't know profit numbers until the company releases full-year results in June, Mulberry expects them to be "slightly ahead of market expectations," a refreshing change to the profit warnings we've gotten used to seeing.
Chairman and interim CEO Godfrey Davis said that the improvements reflect "careful cost control" and a "reinvigorated product offer and focus upon our customers." In the past year, Mulberry has introduced a lower-priced line of bags and a collaboration with Cara Delevingne. It also finally hired a new CEO, Thierry Andretta, and a creative director, Johnny Coca, who starts in July.