LONDON, United Kingdom — British leather handbag maker Mulberry said retail like-for-like sales fell 7 percent in the 10 weeks to June 2 as fewer tourists and fewer shoppers in general dragged on its home market.
Mulberry, which is betting on a push into Japan and China with new stores and online sales to counter weak demand in Britain, said underlying sales at home were down 9 percent in the period, compared with a 1 percent fall in the previous year.
International sales were up 1 percent. In order to develop its business in South Korea it signed an agreement with SHK Holdings to form a new majority-owned entity.
"Following another period of cash generation, our balance sheet is strong," said Chief Executive Thierry Andretta. "Although the UK market remains challenging, we will continue to invest in our strategy to develop Mulberry into a global luxury brand to deliver increased shareholder value."
Britain's retail market has been upended this year by a squeeze on consumer spending and the rapid move online, forcing many big names on the "high street" end of the market to shut stores and cut costs.
Mulberry, which has tried to go back to its roots as an "affordable luxury" label over the past two years with lower-priced products, reported full-year profit before tax up 36 percent to £11.3 million.
It said its new products were selling well, with its £1,095 ($1,462.48) Amberley handbag, launched in 2017, becoming its new bestseller.
By Kate Holton; editor: Alistair Smout.