Mulberry posted a 16% hike in sales in the first half of the year, boosted by a strong UK retail performance.

The luxury clothing and accessories house saw sales climb to £32.3m during the six months to the end of September 2009. Pre-tax profit also grew 16% for the period to £1.5m.

Mulberry’s UK retail business performed particularly well with like-for-like sales up 39%. Mulberry said it expected this upturn to continue throughout the year and forecast that it will end its full year well ahead of current market expectations. UK retail sales for the 10 weeks to December 5 were up 46% on a like-for-like basis compared with the same period in 2008.

Wholesale shipments were down 24% over the six-months to the end of September as stockists continued to buy cautiously.

Mulberry’s chairman and chief executive Godfrey Davis said: “Mulberry has delivered further growth during the first half of the year due to strong demand for new and existing designs. Since September, demand has continued to grow for both the retail and wholesale channels. The outlook is positive and on current trends the results for the year will be substantially ahead of market expectations.”