British luxury brand Mulberry Group Plc today (11 December) said it expects its full-year results to be lower than last year and below current market expectations as consumer demand continues to slow.

The firm, which specialises in leather goods and accessories, said UK like-for-like sales in the 10 weeks to 6 December have fallen by 12% and that total retail sales were 1% lower.

Godfrey Davis, chairman and chief executive, said: "Since September, the global economic outlook has become significantly more difficult."

He added: "With forecasters continuing to project a global downturn the outcome for the year will necessarily be impacted by trading in the weeks ahead."

However, the group managed to perform strongly in the first half of its financial year, posting a 6.4% rise in pre-tax profit to GBP1.33m (US$1.99m) from GBP1.25m in the same period last year.

Sales for the six months to 30 September increased 29% to GBP27.8m from GBP21.5m, and gross profit margin rose to 57.7% from 57.4%.

In its UK shops, sales rose by 21% and were up 5% on a like-for-like basis. Shipments to third parties, including international distributors, increased by more than 40%.

Looking ahead, Mulberry said orders for spring/summer 2009 are more than 15% ahead of the same time last year, but added that the weakness of Sterling will put pressure on margins.