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Mulberry to focus on overseas expansion

Mulberry is to halt its UK expansion after 2008 to target international markets and new product categories.

Chairman and chief executive Godfrey Davis told Drapers that his UK "shopping list" would be complete next year, after he has opened two more standalone stores. He would not confirm the sites, but said one was likely to open before the end of the year.

"We have a good share of the UK market and will focus on international growth, particularly in the US, as we look to develop into a global brand," he said.

His comments came as Mulberry posted pre-tax profits of £6.2 million for the year to March 31 last week, up slightly from £6.1m the previous year.

Davis added that the luxury goods group would open two concessions in South Korea and a store in Hong Kong this year.

The brand's marketing spend is set to increase by 63%, from £3m to £4.9m, in the coming year, half of which will be spent in the UK. The UK accounts for 60% of total group sales.

Mulberry's accessories business makes up more than 90% of group sales, but Davis said ready-to-wear would become increasingly important as he developed the brand internationally. Mulberry also intends to launch into footwear in the next few seasons.

The label has expanded its menswear denim offer for spring 08 and introduced suiting for the first time in five seasons.

Creative director Stuart Vevers said: "The silhouette is neat and slim, carrying over the denim theme from last season. Fabrics are more luxurious than previous spring ranges."

NUMBER CRUNCHING

Turnover: up 4% from £43.4m to £45.1m

Pre-tax profits: up from £6.1m to £6.2m

Retail (from Mulberry stores) and web sales: up 26%

UK shop sales: up 28%, with like-for-like sales up 10%

Current trading in UK: sales up 31% and like-for-like sales up 9% for the first 10 weeks of the new financial year.

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