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Luxury firm Mulberry issues new profit warning

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

British luxury handbag maker Mulberry on Friday issued its second profits warning in six months, sending its shares crashing.

"Mulberry Group plc, the English luxury brand, announces today that due to weaker than anticipated trading post-Christmas, revenues and profit before tax for the year ending 31 March 2013 are expected to be below market expectations," it said in a statement.

In reaction, the group's share price plunged 15.89 percent to 1,038.8 pence on the London stock market.

"Retail sales over the Christmas period were generally in line with expectations," Mulberry added.

"However trading across the retail portfolio during the last 10 weeks has been disappointing, including a reduction in tourist spending in the London stores.

"Retail like-for-like growth for the year is expected to be in the region of six percent."

Mulberry added that annual 2012/2013 revenues were expected to be around £165 million ($251 million, 194 million euros), resulting in pre-tax profits of about £26 million.

The top-end retailer had already warned in October that Asia's economic slowdown, lower sales and higher costs would send annual profits lower.

"After three years of rapid growth, Mulberry has experienced a year of consolidation whilst we build the foundations for future growth," group chief executive Bruno Guillon said on Friday.

"We are focused upon optimising the distribution network and adapting our tactical marketing strategy to drive international brand awareness.

"We continue to reinforce Mulberry's luxury positioning through an enhanced focus on creativity, craftsmanship and quality."

Friday's news also sent rival luxury group Burberry's share price slumping 3.75 percent to 1,335 pence on London's rising FTSE 100 index.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130322/luxury-firm-mulberry-issues-new-profit-warning