Belfast Telegraph

Mulberry bags itself a small fortune

A handbag? That was the incredulous cry of Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest when she learned of the provenance of Ernest Worthing.

Were she around today, the redoubtable dowager might be uttering the same comment as luxury handbag maker Mulberry reveals an impressive rise in its half-year profits.

Sales of its leather bags, from the Alexa to the Bayswater and the Paddington, soared by 38% to £44.7m in the six months to September 30 while pre-tax profits grew to £4.7m. The popularity of its product was closely linked to strong demand from Asia, where sales more than doubled.

And in a daring move for the retail industry, the firm said it had no plans to discount before Christmas. But does its refusal to discount point to self-confidence in its products?

The Alexa, which was launched in January, was named in honour of TV presenter Alexa Chung. Chief executive. Her endorsement has helped Mulberry along the way to becoming a major international fashion brand to rival Louis Vuitton or Chanel.