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Superdry ventures into rugby wear and focuses on Germany

Superdry will launch a range of rugby products as an aggressive German store expansion gets underway.

Chief executive of parent company SuperGroup Julian Dunkerton declined to give a launch date for the line, but said samples are in production “as we speak”.  

Cotton rugby tops and polos will be on offer, and prices will be lower than other rugby lifestyle brands. “Everything that’s out there is too expensive. Brands are selling at £120 a top, when they need to be £60,” Dunkerton said.

The move comes in response to requests from rugby clubs and players themselves for branded goods, he added: “We’re fantastic at cotton products, and we understand heritage.” Dunkerton said Superdry’s traditional close fit has proved to be too tight for rugby players’ physiques, with the new range to be cut more loosely.

He said rugby’s image in England has become “more democratic” in recent years, with appetite for rugbywear from a broader base of customers. SuperGroup joins Pentland Brands in a renewed focus on rugby products. Pentland acquired New Zealand rugby brand Canterbury in 2012 and told Drapers last month it plans to highlight the lifestyle element of the brand.

The news came on the same day SuperGroup reported strong results for the year to April 26, 2014, with group sales up 19.6% to £430.9m year-on-year and underlying pre-tax profit up 18.8% to £62m.

Germany is the next major target for the group. Six stores will open there before Christmas, including a Munich flagship. The average square footage will be 5,000 sq ft per store.

It also bought back its Scandinavian licence earlier this month, but declined to confirm whether a rumoured US licence buy-back is imminent.

“In the US, we created a licence agreement when this business was very young. If we had our time again we would do it differently. We would love to buy it back, but it has to have an appropriate price tag and it has to be at the right time,” said chief operating officer Susanne Given.

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