June 19, 2019 / 6:39 AM / a month ago

Britain's Mulberry hurt by House of Fraser collapse

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a video display in the shop window of a Mulberry store in central London October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

(Reuters) - British luxury bag maker Mulberry swung to an annual loss as it took a 3 million pound ($3.77 million) hit from the collapse of department stores group House of Fraser, adding to general weakness in its home market.

The company, whose bags sell for around 1,000 pounds, reported a loss before tax of 5 million pounds for the year ended March, compared with a pretax profit of 6.9 million pounds a year earlier.

Mulberry said it had faced bad debt and fixed asset write-off of 2.1 million pounds and fixed asset impairment costs of 800,000 pounds from the House of Fraser collapse.

Mulberry operated concessions in House of Fraser, which was bought from administrators by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct.

Mulberry said although it entered into an agreement with Sports Direct on House of Fraser, the business continued to trade below previous levels.

House of Fraser was an important partner for Mulberry, with its stores containing most of the luxury group’s concessions outside London. House of Fraser stores accounted for 40% of Mulberry’s UK outlets.

Mulberry also said the ongoing delay in agreeing the nature of Britain’s potential exit from the European Union continued to create uncertainty that could impact the performance of the business.

The company’s total revenue from the UK fell 6% to 121.6 million pounds in the year ended March.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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