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Mulberry Announces Lower-Priced Line of Handbags

The British heritage brand is facing financial troubles. Could the new "Tessie" collection could be just the thing to save it?

Most news coming from the house of Mulberry in recent months hasn't been positive: In March, the British brand's former CEO Bruno Guillon resigned his position after just two years at the label, following lackluster sales and a profit warning in January. 

Before that, former Creative Director Emma Hill left the company suddenly after six years, and due to its lack of a designer, the brand didn't show at London Fashion Week this past February. Word around the industry is that Hill departed because she didn't like the direction that Mulberry was heading in -- more specifically, its rising prices.

The brand hasn't had a big hit since the Alexa bag — which launched in 2010 and cost around $1,200 at the time — and its prices have only shot up since then. However, the brand is attempting to reconnect with its core customer with a new line of handbags that range in price from $860 to $1,190.

The "Tessie" collection, which is now available for purchase on Mulberry's website, retails for well below the luxury price points that the label has adopted, and it's clear the goal of releasing the line is to help reverse a decline in sales. (Reps for Mulberry did not immediately respond to our request for comment.)

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According to the Telegraph, the new collection is designed by Mulberry's in-house design team (since the house still hasn't replaced Hill) and Vogue UK reports that the bags are modeled after the classic shapes — like the hobo and the satchel — that Mulberry manufactured in the '70s.    

In addition to bags, there are also small leather accessories like bracelets and keychains that consumers can purchase for less than $500. While lowering the price points is an admirable (and smart) strategy for Mulberry, only time will tell if its customers will take the bait.