Mulberry said its strategy to become a global luxury brand while focusing on omnichannel investment had enjoyed a boost from tourists visiting London in the first half of its financial year. It said it was now well placed to develop the customer experience overseas, despite an uncertain UK environment, and that 14% of its sales were now from digital.
The update came as the company reported sales of £74.6m in the six months to September 30. Retail sales, including digital, were up by 2%, despite a 1% fall in like-for-like sales. Global digital sales rose by 3% to £10.7m, 14% of group revenue. Demand from the UK market slowed beyond the tourist hotspots of London, but international sales were up by 8%.
Mulberry, a Top350 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, has agreed a new venture in Japan in partnership with Onward Global Fashion (OGF), starting with four stores.
Chief executive Thierry Andretta said: "We are delivering on our strategy to grow Mulberry as a global luxury brand. Our international platform is taking shape and we have seen a successful initial trading period in Japan through our collaboration with OGF.
"Our focus on full price sales growth has delivered good results with new designs proving popular with customers. The Amberley bag, launched during June 2017, has already become a bestseller."
He added: "We continue to see strong demand from tourists in London and whilst the UK remains uncertain, the group remains in a strong position to invest in further developing the customer experience in key international markets and enhancing its unique UK design and manufacturing base."
Omnichannel continued to be a "key area of focus and investment" during the half-year, with improvements including the addition of new payment methods.
By the end of the year, Mulberry had 66 directly operated stores, down from 67 a year earlier. The main focus, said the retailer, was to expand its international store network in Hong Kong, China and Japan.