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Back-to-basics approach pays off for Mulberry.

Fashion house Mulberry has reported profits had trebled due to demand for its designer handbags sported by stars such as Scarlett Johansson and Kate Moss.

The Bath-based firm said focusing on its core products of handbags and leather accessories had helped it post pre-tax profits of pounds 6.2m in the year to March 31, compared with pounds 1.7m last year. Sales increased 44% to pounds 43.4m.

Among the group's best-sellers were the Blenheim bag, featuring its trademark pockets and broad flat straps, and the Bayswater, as worn by Kate Moss.

In the late 1990s Mulberry introduced clothing and fabrics ranges but after slumping pounds 107,000 into the red in the first half of 2004 it decided to concentrate on its two core divisions.

The back-to-basics approach has paid off and Mulberry yesterday announced it is to pay its first dividend since 1998.

Chief executive Godfrey Davis said the current trading outlook was positive despite "more challenging times".

The first Mulberry shop opened in Japan last year in Tokyo's fashionable Roppongi Hills.

In the rest of Asia, partner businesses now operate five Mulberry branded shops including one in Taipei, Taiwan, which opened in April last year.

A new franchise agreement has been signed in Dubai with a shop planned for next year when the new Dubai Mall ( set to be the largest mall in the world ( is opened.

Mulberry launched in the United States two years ago with its handbags made available in the popular Saks and Barneys department stores. Mulberry USA is due to open its first shop in Bleecker Street, New York.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 23, 2006
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