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Wholesale offsets retail decline at SuperGroup

SuperGroup’s growing wholesale business has offset a drop in retail sales during the company’s fourth quarter to April 26.

The late Easter and inappropriate product mix has been blamed for the 3.1% drop in like-for-likes, which fell to £54.6m. In the same period SuperGroup’s wholesale arm grew 11.2% to £43.2m. Total group sales rose 12.4% to £97.8m. 

The company said it had contended with a “challenging” retail trading environment during the period. Chief executive Julian Dunkerton told Drapers the warm spring had affected business: “This time last year we were selling jackets and gilets, this year it’s T-shirts.” Denimwear had overperformed in the period, he noted.

Dunkerton was sanguine about the final quarter’s “slightly tricky” sales. “Temperature is temperature,” he said.

Over the full year to April 26 the wholesale arm achieved growth of 23.5%. SuperGroup says its full-year profits should be “towards the lower end of consensus”. With forecasts ranging from £61.1m to £65.2m, the company is expecting to show a profit of about £62.9m.

The business invested heavily in the 2013 financial year in logistics, stores and management. It opened a new £5m Burton-on-Trent distribution centre in March, replacing what Dunkerton called a “clunky” system. The cost savings from this will be felt in the next year’s results, he added.

Superdry franchise stores opened in France, India, Czech Republic, Italy and Indonesia during the year. Dunkerton revealed that in 2014 further stores in Germany and France will open, building on the success in central Europe.

Last month’s hire of new ecommerce chief Jon Wragg, formerly of Asda and Shop Direct, is part of a move “to really push online sales forward”, Dunkerton said.

He added: “We have delivered a solid performance over the past year. The reaction to our autumn/winter 14/15 collections is encouraging and, with a strong pipeline of new stores, particularly in mainland Europe, positions us well for the year ahead. The strength of the Superdry brand and the investment we have made in our teams leaves me confident in our ability to deliver the growth strategy.” 


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