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SuperGroup seeks to rally investor support

SuperGroup, the young fashion business, has met with analysts to allay investor concerns that its Superdry brand has become overexposed.

Shares in SuperGroup have been volatile since the business floated at 500p a share in March 2010. Last month a lacklustre trading update sparked fears among investors that Superdry lacked longevity with shoppers.

On Friday shares closed at 900p, before dropping by 8% on Monday ahead of SuperGroup’s meeting with analysts. Shares peaked at £18 in February when confidence about SuperGroup’s international plans was high.

Senior management at SuperGroup, which also owns the Cult young fashion chain, met with 20 analysts at its headquarters in Cheltenham yesterday.

Arden Partners analyst Nick Bubb said the day went “as well as could be expected”.

‘Brand not dead’

He added: “There are still a lot of sceptics out there about SuperGroup, but the strong pick up in UK trading over the last month is clear evidence that the brand is not dead, even if consumers are now favouring subtler logos.”

He added that the business, which is driving its womenswear, denim and accessories offer, could “easily” fill the 40,000 sq ft space in the four floor Regent Street store it will take on which is currently occupied by Austin Reed. The ground floor will be open by Christmas.

He added: “All in all, we think SuperGroup did enough yesterday to stop the rot and build the foundations for a strong recovery in investor confidence in due course, but it won’t turn sentiment on its head in the short term, with the final results on July 13 still overhanging things.”

Product evolution

Numis analyst Andrew Wade said: “There wasn’t a huge amount of game-changingly new stuff.”

“This was about strategy and I don’t think most people’s concerns are over the strategy. They’re worried about [the sustainability of] the brand.”

He added: “In response to growing sales of less overtly branded product (not apparently at the expense of core product), SuperGroup will continue to build this range, and expects it to increase in the mix.”

1,000 franchise stores for Europe

He added that SuperGroup’s international expansion plans were impressive. Chas Howes, finance director, said that Europe could eventually sustain more than 1,000 franchise stores. It plans to open about 50 international franchise stores this year, 10% more than last year and 20 more than forecasted. It will also open wholly owned stores outside Britain for the first time.

In the UK SuperGroup plans to open 20 stores a year with 17 currently in the pipeline.

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