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Superdry co-founder weighs in on strategy debate

Superdry co-founder James Holder has added to criticism of the retailer’s current strategy, calling for an “urgent sea change” in approach.

Holder owns a 10% stake in the company and led Superdry’s product innovation division until 2016. According to The Times, he said that the business needed to act quickly to “restore the share price to its previous level as quickly as possible”.

He also said that there was a need for an “urgent sea change in strategy” if the brand was to become a dominant online brand, capable of challenging Asos.

The comments come following Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton’s warnings that the retailer is “on the wrong path” after a difficult start to the year. Dunkerton told The Sunday Times that he wanted to return to the business after it suffered “probably the most disastrous eight months you can imagine”.

Superdry issued a profit warning earlier this month. It said warm weather would reduce profits by £10m hit for the full financial year. Historic currency hedging mechanisms were also noted to have failed to provide the anticipated level of protection, leading to an additional foreign exchange cost of £8m across the year, with a further £5m hit coming from investments in communication, digitisation and automation.

Before the announcement, analysts had predicted that Superdry’s underlying profit before tax would fall between £107.1m and £111.6m. Following today’s announcement, the figure is likely to drop to around £86.5m. Last year, Superdry’s underlying group profit before tax was £97m.

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