Mulberry fashions 66% rise in trade from handbags

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The Independent Online

Mulberry, whose handbags adorn the arms of celebrities including Gemma Arterton and Kate Moss, became the latest fashion brand to defy the "age of austerity" as it reported bumper holiday sales.

The company, which designs bags that sell for more than £1,000, said the new year was also looking strong as wholesale orders for spring were already twice their level of 2010, with three months of the season remaining. The news follows strong sales reports from luxury brands such as the fashion label Burberry, Louis Vuitton-owner LVMH and jeweller Mappin & Webb. Mulberry's sales in the six weeks to 15 January were 66 per cent higher than in the same period the year before, it said yesterday. While it is best known for handbags, it sells other leather goods, jewellery and womenswear.

The Alexa bag was a particularly good seller over the festive period. It is named after the model, television presenter and former Independent columnist Alexa Chung, a confirmed fan of the brand. A spokeswoman for Mulberry said its Bayswater bag was another popular design.

The luxury goods market seems largely unaffected by the financial crisis and Government spending cuts. It was worth €153bn (£130bn) worldwide in 2009, according to research by Altagamma and Bain Consulting, but the figure rose to €168bn last year.