Mulberry bags first profit since flotation

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The Independent Online

The worldwide success of two leather bags - the Bayswater and the Roxanne - helped the luxury goods group Mulberry post a pre-tax profit of £17,000 in the six months to 30 September against losses of £615,000 during the previous period.

The worldwide success of two leather bags - the Bayswater and the Roxanne - helped the luxury goods group Mulberry post a pre-tax profit of £17,000 in the six months to 30 September against losses of £615,000 during the previous period.

The group, controlled by the billionairess Christina Ong, made its first profit since it listed on AIM eight years ago.

Mulberry ousted its founder and former chairman two years ago. Yesterday Godfrey Davis, who replaced Roger Saul as chairman and chief executive, said the group would restructure its shareholder reserves to pave the way for paying a dividend.

Teather & Greenwood, the group's broker, raised its full-year pre-tax profit forecast to £900,000 from £600,000 after Mulberry said it was on track to exceed expectations. Like-for-like sales growth across the group's full-price UK stores has accelerated from 7 per cent during its first half to 13 per cent during the past nine weeks. Mr Davis said: "We are on an improving trend. Our order book is strong; it's all very encouraging. With good planning we have had less markdowns in our sales so our margins have improved."

The group recently opened concessions in the US, Hong Kong and Japan. Mr Saul cuthis remaining ties with the company he started more than 30 years ago in September, when he sold his outstanding 3.6 per cent stake.

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