SuperGroup, owner of the popular Superdry label, has seen an impressive increase in sales in the three months to July this year, up almost 16 per cent to £87 million. This comes after the introduction of a new retail warehousing operation and merchandising management system, which has helped underpin its growth strategy.
Although like-for-like sales for the quarter were down 3.7 per cent, management claim this is down to a shortage of Spring/Summer lines and that sales had improved since the introduction of the Autumn/Winter range in the second quarter. Superdry reported a 10 per cent increase in orders for the Autumn/Winter range, with especially strong growth overseas (compared to the more mature UK market). Superdry CFO Shaun Wills noted: “There has been a material shift in performance in the latter five weeks as we have gone into autumn-winter ranges”. Shares in SuperGroup have risen by more than 10 percent as sales of its more wintery trademark items (jackets, hooded tops, check shirts and tracksuit bottoms) increased to £87 million pounds in the first quarter.
Growth has also been offset by a “highly competitive” market according the SuperGroup, as Asos and Abercrombie & Fitch both discounted their products more than last year. Jonathan Pritchard, analyst at Oriel Securities, said: “The competitive environment has remained very tough… Some of SuperGroup’s stiffest competition comes from the Abercrombie & Fitch stable. Discounting remains rife”. Nevertheless, experts believe that SuperGroup is still on track to make £70 million in profits for the full year, which would represent an increase of 13 per cent.
Now listed on the FTSE 250 Index of the London Stock Exchange (it floated in March 2010), SuperGroup was originally founded in 1985 by Ian Hibbs and Julian Dunkerton. The latter is now listed on the Sunday Times ‘Rich List’ and said to be worth £180 million. Although SuperGroup’s most profitable label, Superdry, owes its popularity to its fusion of American and Japanese styles, the company originated in Cheltenham in the UK. It was not until 2004 that a store was opened under the Superdry name (it had previously been known as Cult Clothing).
The label also announced it would open 13,000 square feet of new store space this year, mostly in mainland Europe (including a store showcasing its new skiwear range in the Alpine resort of Kitzbuhel). Whilst it currently has a presence in Germany, Spain, Holland and France, it is reported that Superdry also its sights on Italy and Sweden.
Until 2008, however, the label’s only stores were only found in university towns in the UK, such as Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh. After 2008, the label underwent a major expansion occurred, both nationwide and internationally, and Superdry opened stores in towns and cities across the UK as well as in over 40 countries globally, spanning Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia. The group now has 139 stores in the UK alone.