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Womenswear to lead growth at Supergroup

Supergroup chief executive Julian Dunkerton said the young fashion business would radically ramp up its womenswear and footwear offers after it confirmed plans for a £125m float next month.

Dunkerton told Drapers that womenswear would grow to command half of Supergroup’s total business. It currently accounts for just 30% across its brand Superdry and retail chain Cult Clothing.

Supergroup has also brought its footwear design in-house and recruited a team to develop its offer.

Dunkerton said customers and franchise partners had reacted positively to the expanding range, which have combined sales of £119m. The group also believes its international growth makes it highly marketable to investors and plans to grow sales 100% year on year through its international business.

Supergroup currently has 18 franchise stores and it is set to open 11 more international stores by the end of April.

Dunkerton said he was confident the business would float successfully, despite jitters in the market. Last week, fast-fashion chain New Look suspended its £650m IPO and potential investors baulked at a £1.5bn price tag placed on value retailer Matalan, and its sale was pulled.

Dunkerton said of New Look’s failed flotation: “You can’t load a company with debt and expect it to go off. We are debt-free, cash positive and one of the fastest-growing groups on the high street. We are a completely different beast.”

In comparison with other recent failed floats, Supergroup’s shares will be offered to the public as well as institutional investors.

A spokeswoman for the business said: “It is a strong consumer-facing brand and the management wants customers, employees and suppliers to be part of the next phase.”

Dunkerton plans to run the company with the same team and structure if the float is successful. He said: “The only difference is we have a board to assist the growth of the business with a fantastic skill set.”

Meanwhile, New Look chief executive Carl McPhail told Drapers that he would carry on building the business following the IPO postponement. “We will continue to drive shareholder value for whoever our shareholders are,” he said.

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