Womenswear overhaul helps to push growth at SuperGroup

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Fashion chain SuperGroup shrugged off the freezing start to the year yesterday as a revamp of womenswear helped deliver “solid” sales growth.

The chain, which owns the Superdry, Cult and SurfCo California brands, said like-for-like sales grew 5 per cent in the 13 weeks to the end of April, its fourth quar-ter.

While that was down on 10.6 per cent underlying growth during its third quarter and 6.9 per cent growth for the year as a whole, SuperGroup said it remains on track to deliver pre-tax profits in line with expectations.

Analysts’ consensus is for profits of £51.2m for the year to the end of April.

Chief executive Julian Dunkerton said: “I am pleased that the fourth quarter has seen a good trading performance against the backdrop of a challenging market given the extended period of cold weather in early spring.”

Mr Dunkerton, who co-founded the group as a market stall in Cheltenham, said the group has also made “significant progress” in developing product ranges, including in womenswear styling.

SuperGroup, which floated on the stock market in 2010, added it is enhancing its financial and operational processes to keep pace with growth.

It opened 28,000 sq ft of new space during the quarter, including 16,000 sq ft at a new store in Leeds. It now has 113 owned stores, plus 144 franchised sites, with new franchised locations including France, Spain, Denmark and India.

The chain plans to ramp up its expansion in Europe after a year of “consolidation”.

Total group sales were up almost 15 per cent for the year to £360.1m.

Analysts at Panmure Gordon said the underlying annual sales growth was “impressive by any retailer’s standard”.

To support its growth in Britain and online for the next five years, the firm said in April it would invest £5m in a new distribution centre to open at the end of its 2014 fiscal year.