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Expanding wholesale key to Superdry's turnaround, says Dunkerton

Expanding wholesale ranges, increasing product categories and reducing discounting will be key to turning around Superdry’s fortunes, interim CEO Julian Dunkerton has told Drapers.

The UK brand warned that full-year underlying profit before tax will be lower than current market expectations following “weak” wholesale and ecommerce performance.

GlobalbBrand revenue at Superdry was up 3.6% for the year to 27 April to £1.7bn. Global revenue was flat year on year, but dropped 4.5% in the final quarter.

Dunkerton said the focus is now on expanding wholesale ranges and cutting discounting to reinvigorate the brand’s performance.

“By this time next year, we’re looking at wholesale ranges that are 30%- 40% larger,” he said. “We are creating 400 extra products with the in-house design team for autumn, and another 500 products will be created by the Super Design Lab before Christmas. Around 450 of those core designs will go out to wholesale accounts.”

Wholesale revenue fell 9.3% for the 13 weeks to 27 April following increased levels of returns, lower than anticipated in-season orders and the decision not to ship to customers that had reached their credit limits. Going forward, Superdry will have increased access to short-order products throughout the year, manufactured in Turkey.

Dunkerton told Drapers that three of the five existing promotions from the previous management had been cut, along with additional discounting on the outlet side of the business.

Another area targeted for improvement is ecommerce, as online revenue fell 3.9% in the final quarter.

“Since I’ve arrived I’ve realised there are a huge amount of options, sitting in the warehouses, that are not available online,” Dunkerton said. “We will be immediately relocating that stock, which means when it comes to Black Friday we can protect the in-store and wholesale prices while attacking old stock online.”

Dunkerton remains confident that his strategy will bring an end to Superdry profit warnings: “We will bring back the customer experience in stores reasonably quickly, and we are definitely going to be making the online space a very exciting area to be pushing new product, so the growth is clearly there.

“To get an exact timing [for growth] is difficult, but once we have rectified the wholesale range, which we are now working on for the next year, we are on our way.”

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