Despite debuting a line of more accessible bags to win back old customers and signing on Cara Delevingne to do a high-profile capsule collection and campaign, Mulberry’s fortunes still haven’t turned around. Earlier this week, the company issued a profit warning to shareholders after a 17% decline in sales in the first half of 2014, according to Women’s Wear Daily. Be careful of anyone who wants to attribute that to global strife or changing travel patterns, though; Mulberry’s only got itself to blame.
In yesterday’s New York Times, Vanessa Friedman enumerated the issues at Mulberry that we’ve been talking about here for a while. Despite the departure of disastrous CEO Bruno Guillon, who came to the brand from Hermès and, in his short tenure, jacked up all its prices and alienated popular creative director Emma Hill to the point of resignation, not much has changed. The company has yet to name a new permanent CEO or creative director, although they do have Cara Delevingne on their payroll.
The problem with having Delevingne, though, is that so does everyone else, from DKNY to Burberry to Chanel. Although her line and campaign with the brand have received a moderate amount of press attention, reporters on the Delevingne beat are spread pretty thin; without ponying up money for an exclusive, her mere presence has limited value to a brand that’s trying to distinguish itself. Mulberry has a history of betting on the wrong celebrities in the wrong ways, though; remember Lana Del Rey’s bag?
There’s no short of beautiful, rich, young, British it girls-in-the-making for Mulberry to choose, but without a permanent CEO and a new creative director to guide the brand in a purposeful direction, expect to see Mulberry spinning its wheels for some time, no matter the state of the global luxury market.