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Bag to the future for Mulberry

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

By Eva Jones

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Catwalk critics have suggested Mulberry has been lacking a certain je ne sais quoi under Bruno Guillon.

And yesterday it was revealed the French boss of the Somerset-based luxury goods firm had quit, after a testing two years at the helm, during which he was accused of overseeing too aggressive a pricing strategy.

The departure of Mr Guillon, who joined the company from Hermes in 2012, comes two months after a major profits warning. He will be replaced on an interim basis by former boss Godfrey Davis, who oversaw the rapid growth of the Mulberry brand between 2002 and 2012.

Mr Davis, who will revert back to his old role of executive chairman until a successor is found, said Mr Guillon had improved the quality of the Mulberry offering and increased the Chilcompton-based firm's appeal in international markets.

He added: "I am confident that Mulberry has the heritage, brand appeal and products to build on what has been achieved."

The company issued a profits warning within months of Mr Guillon's appointment in March 2012 and in June last year announced that creative director Emma Hill was to leave the luxury handbag maker. Following her appointment in 2008, Ms Hill was credited with turning the firm from a trusted briefcase and wallet maker into an international fashion powerhouse with a clutch of celebrity fans. The company's best known product of recent times has been the Alexa bag – inspired by style icon Alexa Chung – while its Del Rey bag was inspired by American artist Lana Del Rey.

Mr Guillon said last year that after three years of rapid growth he was laying the foundations for turning Mulberry into a global luxury brand.

He pointed out that with over 80 per cent of sales derived from markets where the economic climate remains difficult, Mulberry's challenge was to accelerate its brand awareness in the United States and Asia.

However its recent warning left Mulberry on course for another year of falling profits, having slumped by more than a quarter in the 12 months to last March.

Mr Guillon was previously managing director of Hermes France, a position he held for four years.

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