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Mulberry rejigs clothing to raise its global reputation

Mulberry is revamping its clothing offer for autumn 07 with a new designer collaboration and a younger look for menswear, as it aims to move from being an accessories company to a global luxury brand.

As part of the focus on clothing, new product will now go into all Mulberry stores that are larger than 1,000 sq ft.

The luxury goods group, which reported record sales of £1 million in its Bond Street store in December, unveiled the womenswear capsule collection in collaboration with designer Julie Verhoeven to Drapers this week. The four-piece range features a shift dress, T-shirt, scarf and bag. The scarf will retail at £295 and the bag at £595, with other prices still to be confirmed.

Mulberry has also streamlined its womenswear offer by cutting back on basics, and has given its menswear a younger look. Autumn 07 menswear will wholesale from £69 for knitwear to £550 for jackets.

Prices for womenswear are yet to be announced, but creative director Stuart Vevers said they are likely to be higher than the previous season. He added: "We're giving our clothing offer an extra big push this season. Ready to wear has not been as successful as our accessories range."

Mulberry chief executive Lisa Montague is confident about the success of this season's clothing. "Can Mulberry move from being a bag company to an international luxury brand? Yes it can. We're really proud of the clothing range," she said.

Montague plans to introduce clothing to the brand's larger stores, including shops in Edinburgh, on New York's Madison Avenue and the new Paris flagship store due to open in March. It will open a further five concessions in House of Fraser from February 5, in Sheffield, Leeds, Norwich, Croydon and Nottingham. However, the brand has no plans to introduce clothing to its concessions.

Montague added that its store on Gee's Court in central London could be refurbished this summer.

Mulberry has also expanded its menswear bag collection by introducing four new styles to its Scotchgrain range, as well as an extra size in the Antony style that features its distinctive postman's lock.

The luxury group has 24 standalone stores worldwide, including eight in the UK; 23 shop-in-shops, including 15 in the UK; and three UK outlet stores.

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