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Is Superdry right to change its womenswear offer?

As SuperGroup reported a much anticipated slip in its full-year profits, chief executive Julian Dunkerton told me that its young fashion brand Superdry was to take massive strides in terms of its womenswear product offer for spring 13.

According to Dunkerton, the brand has been “unremarkable” in its womenswear category up till now and so for spring 13 new, more feminine product will be introduced.

Now I’m sorry to sound uneducated on such matters but I always thought “unremarkable” clothing was the mainstay of a brand like Superdry.

Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it the countless number of fairly generic looking hoodies and T-shirts carrying the brand’s logo in one form or another (and available in an array of different colours) the reason that teenagers shop in Superdry in their droves?

I am not criticising Superdry. They have successfully capitalised on the young fashion/casualwear market and it is a formula that has been tried and tested by many others before them. Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and Jack Wills, to name but a few, are all similarly successful in attracting scores of younger (and admittedly some older) customers with their relaxed look, logo-driven, casualwear. 

And in all of these retailer’s cases, including Superdry, this has been the same in womenswear as it has been in menswear. While Abercrombie does a very good line in cute floral dresses and lacy cami tops, it is the denim, the polo shirts and the hooded jumpers that remain its bread and butter in women’s as well as menswear.

With this in mind, it is interesting therefore that Superdry has said it is to diversify its womenswear product offer for spring 13, introducing more femininity to the range.  By this I am assuming Dunkerton means the introduction of the obligatory pretty summer dresses that have become a spring season staple in womenswear for many preppy young fashion brands.

He did insist that the core Superdry product would remain present in the womenswear offer and that they were merely widening the range to include new categories. I only hope, given the recent dip in profits, that this doesn’t prove one step too far for the brand.

Ruth Faulkner, reporter, Drapers
ruth.faulkner@emap.com

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