Mulberry Group, the 40-year-old British luxury-handbag maker, is the world's best-performing fashion retail stock over the past year and its sales may keep gaining, driven by overseas growth, analysts say.
The stock has risen 506 per cent to 1,720 pence in the past 12 months, making it best performer in the apparel retailers segment, according to Bloomberg data. Among all retailers, it's behind only PT Mitra Adiperkasa, an Indonesian company that runs Starbucks coffee shops and Sogo department stores in the country, which has risen 637 per cent over the period.
Investors are betting Mulberry, whose handbags include the Alexa, named after British model and television hostess Alexa Chung, and its Bayswater bag, available in a "bright-cabbage sparkle tweed" at £775 (Dh4,600), will join the likes of Burberry Group as an iconic luxury brand.
"Growth is very hard to come by, particularly in western Europe, but there are still some companies growing incredibly fast," said Harry Nimmo, manager of the £1 billion UK Smaller Companies Fund at Standard Life Investments.
Nimmo's funds are the third-largest holder of Mulberry stock and own 7.2 per cent of Asos, a UK Internet clothing retailer.
Asos is western Europe's second-biggest gainer among clothing retailers above a market value of $10 million (Dh36.7 million) over the past year, Bloomberg data show.
"I'm not at all worried about the company, but when you get beyond this, you are betting on the scale of upgrades," said Stoddart, who has a "buy" recommendation on the shares. Mulberry raised its profit forecasts four times between last October and March.
Mulberry also has the potential to broaden its brand to products such as eyeglasses and perfume, and it has a relatively limited presence in Asia and the US compared with rivals, Stoddart said.
Extending the brand name is a "classic strategy," which Mulberry has considered, said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Godfrey Davis in a telephone interview last week.
The management wants to wait until Mulberry has sufficient presence worldwide, and it's "approaching that critical mass," he said.
The company is keen to keep its English identity and is adding 50 staff to its factory at Chilcompton, England, to keep the number of bags made in Britain at 30 per cent, Davis said.
From / Gulf News