Mulberry looks to Australia for expansion

mulberryLuxury leather goods retailer Mulberry has flagged Australia as one of its next international targets and has inked a deal with Luxury Retail Group to help it oversee its local expansion.

Three stores have already been leased, including a 244-metre squared corner site in Melbourne’s renowned Emporium centre, which will open in July and serve as a design concept.

It will be the second run at the Australian market for the British business, which bought back its distribution rights from a previous partner last year and has been trading out of a single store on Sydney’s Pitt Street since 2010.

Under its exclusive distribution deal with LRG that store will be closed, and new stores will be opened in Melbourne’s Chadstone shopping centre and Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building.

“We are incredibly excited by this new partnership,” said LRG managing director, Nelson Mair. “And

look forward to achieving strong growth results and new customer reach within the market.”

Mair had previously signaled that LRG was looking for a new luxe brand to work with Down Under after selling back local distribution rights to Furla and Follie Follie Group in Australia last year, the business is also distributing Kering Group’s Balenciaga brand in Australia and owns online footwear retailer Sneakerboy.

Mulberry, headquartered and publicly listed in the UK, already sells its range of menswear, womenswear, accessories and footwear in 24 other markets around the world, including China, South Korea, The United States and Japan.

“I am pleased to announce our partnership with LRG in Australia. We look forward to seeing significant growth and opportunity for Mulberry in this market,” Mulberry chief executive Thierry Andretta said of the expansion in a statement.

Mulberry’s long-term strategy is to define itself as a global luxe brand, but the company has fallen under a cloud in recent years, suffering an 80 per cent decline in profits since 2012 amid disruption within the global retail market.

Andretta, who was appointed in 2015, has been working to improve the fortunes of the business by moving to a direct to customer model and last year oversaw the company’s first revenue increase in several years, increasing sales by 7.7 per cent to £168.1 million (AUD$308m).

LRG said that additional store leases are already being considered for the brand in Australia, with the initial slate of stores to serve as an indication of how local customers respond to the business.

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