GCI Focus to deny sale rumours for Mulberry

Luxury goods manufacturer Mulberry has appointed GCI Focus on a financial and corporate brief. The agency was hired without a formal pitch.

Luxury goods manufacturer Mulberry has appointed GCI Focus on a

financial and corporate brief. The agency was hired without a formal

pitch.



Mulberry was reported to have been approached by companies wanting to

acquire it last month. GCI will work to rebut any future speculation, as

the company wishes to remain independent.



Ludgate was the last financial agency to work for Mulberry, but their

relationship ended in early-1998. It was initially hired to handle

Mulberry’s flotation in May 1996.



Alex Mackey, head of financial PR at GCI Focus and lead consultant on

the account, says GCI Focus will manage Mulberry’s investor relations,

financial media relations and corporate PR. Mackey will bring his

experience to bear as an ex-member of the board and PR chief at

high-street retailer Debenhams.



GCI Focus will report directly to Mulberry marketing manager Graham

Sim.



The appointment coincides with a flourish of activity at Mulberry. Last

week it signed a partnership with Toray Industries, the world’s biggest

textile manufacturer, to develop its brand in Japan.



Mulberry also recently signed a pounds 1.5 million licensing and

distribution deal with US home furnishings company Kravet to distribute

and manufacture Mulberry fabrics.



These announcements have had a positive effect on Mulberry’s share

price, which has doubled to 58p from a low earlier this year.



This rise in fortunes follows a difficult couple of years for Mulberry,

when the strength of the pound had a negative effect on its profits. The

downturn in the Asian economy also hurt the luxury brand, as a

substantial proportion of its sales are in the Far East. Last year

Mulberry took control of its ailing Japanese stores after the collapse

of its partner Moonbat.



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