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Supergroup retail sales slow in its fourth quarter

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Fashion retailer Supergroup, which owns youth brands Superdry and Cult, saw sales growth slow in its fourth quarter but trading for the full year was still highly impressive considering the tough recent economic pressures.

In an interim management statement published this morning, the group revealed that retail sales were up 39 per cent year-on-year in the three months to May 1st 2011, totalling £32 million over the period.

This is in comparison to Q3’s retail sales figure of £61.4 million, which represented annual growth of 91.8 per cent.

Supergroup indicated that the two major factors influenced the slower growth rate in Q4.

Firstly, only one new store opened during the period compared to six in Q4 of the previous financial year and secondly the retailer did not get the full range of summer stock out to its shops quickly enough to cater for the unseasonably warm spring weather.

“As Supergroup grows its retail estate some quarters will inevitably see comparatively more stores opening than others as a natural consequence of phasing,” the company stated.

Despite these factors, total group sales for Q4 were up 61 per cent to £66 million and wholesale trading increased 89 per cent to £34 million. In the year ending May 1st total, wholesale and retail sales were all up 71 per cent.

Julian Dunkerton, CEO of Supergroup, commented: “’We have had an excellent year both financially and in terms of our development, particularly overseas where we opened 44 stores and Supergroup now has a strong platform for an accelerated roll out.

“We have a strategy that will continue to deliver sustained growth both in the UK and overseas.”

Espirito Santo Investment Bank says retail sales at Supergroup were lower than expected and, as a result, has reservations on the business’s longer-term growth in the UK and overseas.

Esprito Santo’s Retail Analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi commented: “We understand that eight stores were planned for Q4, so to miss on seven is a significant miss, suggesting possibly that landlord negotiations are getting tougher.

“At this stage, we don’t think the Q4 shortfall will necessarily be caught up in FY12, so this is not just a phasing issue.”

Published on Thursday 12 May by Editorial Assistant

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