Luxury clothing and leather goods company Mulberry Group Plc on Wednesday posted a wider full year loss despite a slight rise in sales and said it plans to raise £3.5 million through an open offer.

The Bath-based firm reported a pre-tax loss of £2.1m for the year to March 31 versus a pre-tax loss of £1.7m in 2002 as it was hurt by costs linked to the resignation of former chairman and chief executive Roger Saul in late 2002.

It added sales climbed to £28.2m from £27.8m in the same period of the year prior and said current full price UK retail trading is two per cent ahead of trading in the same period last year.

Mulberry chairman and chief executive, Godfrey Davis, said: "It has been a difficult year for the group, due largely to management changes and a public shareholder dispute.

"The recession in fashion retail in Europe and Scandinavia, which has hit Germany particularly badly, has been widely reported. In the Spring/Summer 2003 season, it has resulted in a reduction of 12 per cent in our wholesale export business."

He added: "The overhaul of our women's wear business to bring it into line with the accessories collections is underway and the first collection under the new regime reached the shops in July 2003.

"Our strategy is to limit the distribution of men's and women's wear and to focus on growing the sales of accessories, which is our core business."