Dec 11, 2008
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Mulberry warns of lower full-year results

Dec 11, 2008

Mulberry fall-winter 2008/2009

* Says slowdown in consumer demand continued since Sept * Same-store sales for 1st 10 weeks of H2 down 12 pct * H1 pretax profit up 6 pct

Dec 11 (Reuters) - British fashion retailer Mulberry Group Plc warned that its full-year results would be below current market expectations and lower than last year due to a slowdown in consumer demand as it posted a 6 percent rise in first-half pretax profit helped by better margins.

The luxury fashion brand specialising in the design and manufacture of leather goods said like-for-like sales for the first 10 weeks of the second half fell 12 percent on weaker demand since September.

Overall sales within its British retail business were down 1 percent for the 10 weeks to Dec. 6.

"With forecasters continuing to project a global downturn, the outcome for the year will necessarily be impacted by trading in the weeks ahead," the company said in a statement.

One analyst was expecting the company to post an underlying pretax profit of 6.4 million pounds ($9.5 million) on revenue of 60 million pounds for the year ending March 31, 2009, according to Reuters Estimates.

For the first half ended Sept. 30, the company said its pretax profit rose to 1.33 million pounds from 1.25 million pounds last year as sales grew 29 percent to 27.8 million pounds.

Gross profit margin improved to 57.7 percent from 57.4 percent in 2007. The company said its confirmed third-party order book for spring and summer 2009 was more than 15 percent ahead of last year, driven by increased market penetration and new shop openings by its partners.

Shares of Mulberry closed at 72 pence on Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange. The shares have lost about 60 percent of their value so far this year. ($1=.6732 Pound) (Reporting by Tresa Sherin Morera in Bangalore; Editing by Mike Miller)

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