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Drapers Comment: 'Is Idris Elba Superdry's US saviour?'

Idris Elba may be a while off saving the world as James Bond, but in the meantime the British actor and singer is being parachuted in to save Superdry’s stateside operations.

It was announced yesterday that the 42-year-old Luther star is to design a “premium” clothing line for the business, alongside brand and design director James Holder. SuperGroup is also buying back the US licence for Superdry and 15 store leases from Sunrise Brands - at a cost of £22.3m.

The Golden Globe winner gained popularity in the states for his role as drug lord and aspiring businessman Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell in HBO series The Wire. No doubt SuperGroup boss Euan Sutherland is hoping Elba’s success in America will help the brand to narrow the £5.1m loss it recorded across the pond in 2014. In a call with investors shortly after the news was made public, Sutherland said the plan was to restore the 15 American stores to profitability by the end of 2017.

However, the drafting in of this rather surprising collaboration - the Drapers view is that the dapper Elba is far more suited to the likes of Mr Porter - also has wider implications for the brand globally. Superdry says its appeal has “broadened” since 2010, moving to attract a far greater proportion of the over 35 market and despite Sutherland describing him as “the epitome” of what the brand stands for, this latest move cements the cull of its original demographic.

It’s foreseeable that further changes will take place as Elba’s line is rolled out. However, the priority for the brand will be getting back into the black in the US and overcoming recent shock departures – of chief operating officer Susanne Given and finance director Shaun Wills – that left the brand shaken and its investors stirred.


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