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Can Mulberry recover from its turbulent times?

The last week has been a rocky one for British brand Mulberry.

After years of strong sales figures, with fashionistas eager to hang the latest Alexa or Del Ray bag from their arm, the luxury label felt the full effects of the recession posting a £10m drop in pre-tax profits to £26m as total revenue fell 2% to £165.1m.

This, coupled with the departure of creative director Emma Hill announced this week, just a month after non-executive director Robin Gibson stepped down, has created some cause for concern.

There has been much speculation that Hill’s departure was due to what one source describe as a “boardroom bust-up”, so there is certainly a degree of unsettlement at the brand. However with some of the old guard leaving it will give Mulberry the opportunity to get fresh blood in, re-group and decide on its future strategy.

One analyst told Drapers this week that Mulberry was simply suffering from the inevitable slowdown of a succesful brand - noting it was difficult to maintain growth over an extended period.

The brand has been blessed with much success in the UK market in the past, however with consumer confidence down and pennies tight the label has suffered slightly.

In order to achieve further growth Mulberry must continue its expansion overseas.

Asia has been a hotbed of opportunity for luxury labels with the likes of Burberry seeing strong sales in China; therefore Mulberry should certainly pinpoint the region for growth.

Despite the slightly sombre tone of the statement this week in which it revealed profits had plunged Mulberry continued to say that recent trading (the 10 weeks to June 8) had delivered a rise in revenues with like-for-like sales up 6%, suggesting that although times are tough the era of the “it bag” might not be over just yet.

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