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Mulberry may open third UK factory

British luxury handbag brand Mulberry could open a third factory in England if it hits growth targets, despite battling higher import costs since the Brexit vote.

Chief executive Thierry Andretta told Reuters that weaker sterling has made production in the UK more challenging, but reaffirmed that the brand remained “fully committed” to British manufacturing: “We want to continue this and I hope one day when we grow perhaps we will even consider opening another factory.”

Andretta told Drapers in December that the brand intended to continue investing in its Somerset factories as part of its effort to “gear Britishness” towards its customers. The two factories manufacture approximately 50% of the brand’s bags.

Last year the brand opened a centre of excellence called the “Artisan Studio” at one of its Somerset factories, to showcase British craftsmanship on special and limited edition products.

Mulberry’s pre-tax loss widened fractionally to £600,00 in the six months to 30 September, as it continued its expansion in Asia. However, gross margin rose 248 basis points, improving by £1.9m, which the business attributed to a full-price focus and fewer markdown Sales.

Its total revenue remained largely flat at £74.6m, compared with £74.5m in the same period last year. Retail sales were up 2%, but like-for-like sales dipped by 1%. Wholesale revenue dropped by 6% to £18m.

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