Mulberry's New Creative Director Has Been Good for Sales

The company has seen a bump in revenue since hiring Johnny Coca.
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Mulberry creative director Johnny Coca at the 2016 Fashion Awards. Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Mulberry creative director Johnny Coca at the 2016 Fashion Awards. Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Could things finally be turning around for Mulberry? The British heritage brand, once known for its must-have handbags, has been struggling for years after a disastrous attempt to take the brand further upmarket.

But today, good news: First half revenues for the year are up by 10 percent to £74.5 million, or about $94.25 million at current exchange. Digital sales are up 32 percent, accounting for 14 percent of business worldwide, and wholesale revenue is up by 10 percent. "Mulberry's new collection under the creative direction of Johnny Coca has been well received by our existing customers and a new audience," brand CEO Thierry Andretta says in a release. Coca made his debut with the fall 2016 collection, which hit stores in August alongside nine new bag styles. 

The brand notes that it has put more money towards product and design to support Coca, which will affect profit in the "medium term," adding "this has a negative impact on gross margins due to a higher level of training and change in our factories." Mulberry notes it has also reduced inventory in a strategic initiative. These changes, plus the impact of changing exchange rates, resulted in a small loss of £342,000, or about $433,000 at current exchange.

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