Supergroup on song as retail sales take huge leap

Superdry fashion firm Supergroup yesterday said it enjoyed its best ever Christmas trading after nearly doubling retail sales.

The group, which targets the youth fashion market and operates 59 stand-alone stores and 69 concessions, said UK retail sales surged 93.6 per cent to 51.7m in the nine weeks to January 2. The company now expects full-year profits to be at the top end of market expectations.

Supergroup also said rising cotton prices will not have an impact on this year's profit margins as previously expected.

Chief executive and founder Julian Dunkerton said the company had renegotiated with suppliers in a move to offset the impact of escalating raw material prices.

Supergroup, which operates from Superdry and Cult stores, joins fellow retailers Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and House of Fraser in overcoming last month's adverse weather conditions and posting a strong Christmas performance.

HMV, Debenhams and Next did not fare as well, posting a slump in sales over the festive season.

The business began life on a market stall in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, more than 20 years ago but floated nearly a third of the business in March to fund growth – triggering a huge windfall for directors including Mr Dunkerton.

Mr Dunkerton said: "This performance demonstrates the strength of our brand and the loyalty of our customers.

"Such excellent Christmas trading figures, coupled with our continued UK roll-out, international expansion and rapidly evolving internet capability, mean that we are now positioned to deliver profits towards the upper end of market expectations."

The wholesale division, which sells the Superdry brand to international distributors, franchisees, licensees and independent retailers, delivered a 77.8 per cent increase in sales in the period of 13.4m.

Freddie George, retail analyst at Seymour Pierce, said: "These results are very impressive and add credibility to our view that SuperGroup can be developed into a major international brand and should quash doubters of the brand.

"The ranges remain very much on trend and show no signs of losing their appeal."

Seymour Pierce upgraded its profit forecasts for the current financial year to 47m from 41m.