Mulberry posts loss in spite of boost from weak pound
Luxury handbag maker Mulberry sank to a half-year loss after investing in new products, but tourists taking advantage of the weak pound to snap up bargains helped send sales surging.
The group said UK like-for-like retail sales rose 7% in the six months to September 30, boosted by a luxury spending spree sparked by sterling's sharp fall since the Brexit vote.
Half-year results showed Mulberry slipped into the red with losses of £500,000, against pre-tax profits of £100,000 a year earlier, after it splashed out £1m on new designs.
The group has launched the first collection under recently-hired creative director Johnny Coca, with nine new bags - including a revamp of its best-selling Bayswater design.
Mulberry chief executive Thierry Andretta said the new range has been "well received by our existing customers and a new audience".
But he added: "The UK and global outlook has become more uncertain since we last reported. However, we are in a good position to continue to build our business."
Total group-wide like-for-like retail sales lifted 7% in the first half, with international sales up 10%.
Mulberry said that, while tourist spend remained strong since the first half, UK customer demand had "softened" in recent weeks, with total like-for-like retail sales growth easing back to 3% in the 10 weeks to December 3. The group has staged a bounce-back over the past 18 months..