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Luxury handbag maker Mulberry to expand its UK factory as sales soar

Mulberry is planning to expand its UK factory as sales return to pre-pandemic levels.

The luxury bag maker, which makes around 60 per cent of its goods in two carbon-neutral plants in Somerset, has already added an extra production line in the past year, creating 50 jobs.

Chief executive Thierry Andretta said it will add another if sales continue to grow as expected. 

Expansion plans: Mulberry’s best-sellers include the bag named after model Alexa Chung (pictured) and the Bayswater classic design

Mulberry’s UK production capacity helped it brush off fears of Christmas shortages as making most of its bags in Somerset has sheltered it from supply chain disruption.

In the last two months alone, sales were 35 per cent higher than the same period last year, the firm said.

The firm’s best-sellers include the bag named after model Alexa Chung and the Bayswater classic design. 

Andretta said: ‘The bold decisions we have taken with regards to focusing on our UK production capabilities mean we are well placed for the festive trading period and beyond.

‘We have an agile supply chain, and as part of our Brexit planning and in anticipation of disruption, we made the decision to order more raw materials than we usually would and to hold more stock. This means we are not affected by the global supply crisis.’

Mulberry said that in the six months to September 25, it recorded a £10.2million profit compared with a loss of £2.4million a year earlier. 

That was off the back of a 34 per cent jump in sales from £48.9million in the first half of 2020 to £65.7m this year.

Its British arm, responsible for 57 per cent of its revenue, booked sales of £38million over the first six months of this year, 7 per cent above pre-pandemic levels. 

Sales in the US grew 57 per cent to £3.3million over the period, while growth in China pushed its Asia Pacific sales to £11.8million, a 23 per cent jump.

The firm said sales have been better than expected since September and it expects they will continue growing for the rest of the financial year. The announcement sent shares soaring 22.5 per cent or 68p to 370p.

Singaporean billionaire Christina Ong, the so-called Queen of Bond Street, owns 56 per cent of the company through Challice Limited. 

Her stake jumped by around £23million yesterday, while Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group’s 37 per cent stake was up by around £15million.

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