Profits leap in the Mulberry rush for bags

Luxury handbag maker Mulberry said annual profits would beat expectations after a "very strong" Christmas.

The group reported a 66 per cent leap in own stores and concession sales, with like-for-like growth of 70 per cent across full price outlets in the six weeks to January 15.

Discount outlet like-for-like sales lifted 34 per cent, according to the group.

Mulberry handbags can sell for as much as 3,000 and include its recently launched Alexa handbag – named after television presenter Alexa Chung. Other brands include Bayswater, Daria and Mitzy.

The Bath-based group is having to expand its factory by nearly a third to help it meet soaring demand, particularly from international consumers.

It said last month that interim profits trebled to 4.7m, adding it was unable to match demand in the UK and overseas, with sales to Asia up 180 per cent in the half-year.

Philip Dorgan, analyst at Mulberry's inhouse broker Altium Securities, upped his full-year underlying profit forecast from 15m to 18.5m for year to March 31.

Mulberry has 82 stores and concessions, of which 35 are overseas partner stores.