Mulberry sounds alert as handbags fail to fall into tourists' clutches

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The Independent Online

Visitors to London have been buying fewer Mulberry handbags, prompting a profit warning from the Aim-listed handbags maker.

In an unscheduled trading update, the maker of Del Rey and Alexa handbags said due to "weaker-than-anticipated" trading after Christmas, sales and pre-tax profit for the year to April will be below expectations. The warning from the luxury goods brand is the third since last June. The alerts have taken millions off the company's value. At the beginning of last May the shares reached 2,472p but they have since lost more than 50 per cent and yesterday ended down 211p to 1,024p.

Pre-tax profit for the year will be about £26m, against the £30.7m estimated by analysts. Mulberry said sales will be about £165m compared with a forecast £176m. Bruno Guillon, chief executive, has been implementing a strategy to raise awareness of the brand and take it more upmarket.

He said: "After three years of rapid growth, Mulberry has experienced a year of consolidation."

But the performance is in stark contrast to French luxury brand Hermès, where Mr Guillon was previously managing director of France. It reported a 26.4 per cent jump in profits.