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Make Mine a Mulberry

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Can you name the world’s best-performing fashion retail stock over the last year? It’s Mulberry Group, a 40-year-old British luxury handbag maker.

The value of Mulberry stock has risen 526 percent in the past 12 months, making it the top performer in the apparel retailers segment, according to Bloomberg data. Although U.S. consumers are more familiar with brands like Louis Vuitton and Dooney & Bourke, investors are betting that Mulberry will soon take its place alongside these iconic luxury brands.

Still, with shares of Mulberry stock having increased 24-fold over the past two years, some are wondering if prices are on the verge of topping out. Investors say the brand has the potential to expand into products like eyeglasses and perfume; chairman and CEO Godfrey Davis has considered brand extensions, but says his focus right now is on building Mulberry’s presence worldwide.

The company posted a 42 percent increase in retail sales at stores open at least a year for the 10 weeks ending June 4. In January, the company opened its first store in Beijing, and additional store openings are planned for Bangkok, New York, Amsterdam, Germany, Korea and China over the next 10 months.