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Mulberry Group plc, the English luxury brand, saw its share price fall 25% on January 29 following disappointing Christmas sales.
Retail growth in international markets has continued during December and January; however the trading environment in the UK has deteriorated over the period and in the wholesale channel the Korean market has been significantly more challenging than anticipated.
Total retail sales were 3% below last year for the 17 weeks to 25 January 25, 2014, reflecting the competitive environment in the UK, with substantial discounting in the sector over the Christmas trading period.
In recent days it has also become clear that wholesale order cancellations from Korean customers are likely to be significant and they now expect wholesale sales for the year ending March 31, 2014 to be down approximately 10% compared to last year.
This reduction in wholesale sales is expected to offset the growth in retail sales and Mulberry expect total sales for the year ending March 2014 to be broadly in line with the prior year.
In combination with the committed costs associated with the store opening programme undertaken over the last two years, the lower than anticipated level of sales is expected to result in profit before tax for the year ending March 31, 2014 being substantially below current market expectations.
"Due to tough trading conditions over the Christmas period which saw significant discounting across the market, Mulberry has experienced lower than expected UK retail sales which, together with wholesale order cancellations from Korea, will adversely impact our profit this year. Despite this, the company continues to be cash generative and to invest in the ongoing process of transforming Mulberry from a domestic to a global luxury brand, the progress of which is demonstrated by the continued growth in international retail sales", Bruno Guillon, Chief Executive Officer, commented.