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Mulberry web sales soar as luxury rivals lag online

Mulberry’s internet sales have soared 26% compared with last year to reach in excess of £3 million, but most of the global luxury sector is missing out on web sales, with just a third running own-brand websites.

According to research by Walpole, a not-for-profit organisation which represents more than 100 British luxury brands and retailers, two-thirds of the global luxury market does not have a transactional website, and half of those have no plans to introduce a site.

Speaking to Drapers, Walpole deputy chairman Guy Salter urged the luxury sector to embrace the internet. “With the likes of Gucci and Louis Vuitton doing good business online, the healthy state of the online market and the current difficult trading conditions, I’m shocked more people haven’t embraced the internet,” he said.

Mulberry retail director Nick Roberts said the luxury accessories business grew its online sales tenfold in the past five years, demonstrating the potential for luxury brands selling direct to consumers online.

“Our online store is now the second highest retail store turnover-wise, and will be our top store within the next two years,” he said. “We are confident our online business will continue to grow as we have yet to launch our site in multiple currencies and languages, which is planned for the coming year.”

Walpole, working in conjunction with research specialist Forrester, surveyed 178 luxury companies. The results showed that retailers and brands that don’t sell online believe their customers use the internet simply for research.

Roberts added: “Other luxury brands are not confident in operating etail sites as they are not geared up to deal with the logistical and technical issues.”

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