The latest chapter in Mulberry's floundering financial performance — four years after the British heritage brand's disastrous effort to take the brand further upmarket — is a big one: On Friday, Mulberry announced in a release that it will be ceasing its London Fashion Week runway show and will instead be following a direct-to-consumer (or "see now, buy now") model. The label, now led by creative director Johnny Coca, will show its Spring 2018 collection in private appointments with press and buyers in London and Paris.
"Mulberry has always been focused on offering a real and accessible lifestyle," said CEO Thierry Andretta. "The shift announced today enables us to continue to drive engagement and increase our relevance to our customers. Our strong omni-channel, retail-led business ensures we are well placed to align our collection launches globally and support growing consumer demand for immediacy."
Considering Mulberry's latest business development, this transition does come as a bit of a surprise. Last we checked in on the company in December, Mulberry had actually seen a bump in revenue since hiring Coca from Céline in late 2014. The comparable lift — first half revenues were up 10 percent to £74.5 million ($94.25 million) from the same period last year — was substantial, but perhaps wasn't enough to get the brand to where it needed to be. And after several years of pulling out all the stops, including partnering with (likely very expensive) model-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne, this might just be exactly where Mulberry needs to be.
Note: This story has been updated with confirmation from Mulberry.