Superdry knocked by discounting culture

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FASHION brand Superdry blamed discounting by rivals for a slowdown in sales growth last month, causing it to scale back profit expectations.

Parent company SuperGroup said like-for-like sales of its trademark T-shirts, hooded tops, check shirts and jogging bottoms rose 4.4 per cent in the 13 weeks to January 29.

Like-for-like retail sales had grown by 9.3 per cent in December before slowing in the last three weeks of January.

Chief executive Julian Dunkerton said: “Our competitors, our kindred brands, had the heaviest discounting I’ve ever seen, and I think we got affected by that predominantly.”

Retailers suffered their second weakest January since records started in 1995 as shoppers reined in spending after splashing out on December discounts, an industry survey showed.

Mr Dunkerton said he was relaxed about the firm’s latest wobble.

“In the next 12 months we’re going to see better margins from better sourcing and cotton prices coming down.”

He claimed the appeal of the Superdry brand is as strong as ever.

“Pippa Middleton was wearing a pair of jeans the other day,” he said, referring to Kate Middleton’s sister.

The firm’s clothes are a favourite with other high profile celebrities such as David Beckham and Zac Efron.

The third-quarter stores performance compared with a like-for-like sales fall of 3.3 per cent in the second quarter when trading was hit by the botched implementation of a warehouse IT system upgrade which sparked a profits warning.

SuperGroup, which has 76 Superdry and Cult stores including branches in Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and York, said total third-quarter sales rose 25.3 per cent to £102.5m, with retail sales up 27.8 per cent and wholesale sales up 17.8 per cent.