Mulberry profits boosted by overseas growth

Thu Dec 8, 2011 7:56am GMT

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LONDON, Dec 8 - British luxury fashion brand Mulberry (MUL.L) said its first-half profit more than trebled, boosted by global expansion, and said it was cautiously optimistic about the future while acknowledging the challenging macroeconomic climate.

The company, which designs, manufactures and sells leather goods and accessories, posted pretax profit of 15.6 million pounds in the six months to Sept 30, up 231 percent.

"Our strategy to focus on international expansion continues to bear fruit," chief executive Godfrey Davis said in a statement on Thursday.

The firm, best known for its leather handbags priced around 500-900 pounds, said revenue rose by 62 percent to 72.3 million pounds and wholesale shipments grew by 93 percent.

"The outlook for the six months to 31 March 2012 is positive, however, the potential impact of the economic environment on consumers' spending habits makes the future more challenging," the company said in a statement.

Mulberry said it planned to open nine new stores in the second half. It has agreed a 10-year distribution deal in October to sell its products in Japanese department stores and open flagship shops in Tokyo and Osaka.

The company said in June it expected overseas sales to overtake those in its home market in two years, predicting particularly strong demand from the U.S. and China.

Shares in Mulberry, which have risen more than 60 percent this year, closed at 1494 pence on Wednesday, valuing the business at about 877.42 million pounds.

(Reporting by Alessandra Prentice)

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