Fashion group favoured by Pippa beats the gloom

Pippa Middleton
Pippa Middleton
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Superdry owner SuperGroup said it is well-positioned for the key Christmas shopping period after reporting higher sales and profits.

The group, whose celebrity fans include royal favourite Pippa Middleton and singer Ed Sheeran, denied its Superdry fashion brand is losing its appeal to the youth market.

The group said it has seen strong profit growth after three profit warnings and a number of management mistake.

The brand, best known for logo-decorated T-shirts, said like-for-like sales at UK stores rose 3.9 per cent in the 26 weeks to October 8 and remain positive in the first six weeks of its second half.

Chief executive Julian Dunkerton said: “If you go into any shopping mall and look how busy we are compared to other people I think you will realise that we are on track. To have like-for-like growth I think really puts paid to any kind of brand argument. There will always be sniping, but look at the popularity of the product and look at our growth.”

SuperGroup made an underlying pre-tax profit of £14.7m in the first half, up from £13.0m last year.

Despite the claim the group is in good shape for Christmas, some analysts still have concerns.

Andrew Wade, analyst at Numis Securities, said the underlying pre-tax profits were a “sizeable miss” against its estimate of £17.4m.

“In all, at first glance this appears a disappointing update, with earnings below expectations,” he said.

Rik Thakrar, risk manager and senior dealer at SpreadCo said: “The falling price of cotton and a rebound in sales for the Superdry brand have led to a reversal in the company’s fortunes.

“Although above the 2010 IPO level, the company has lost two-thirds of its value in the last 18 months.

“A series of profit warnings and perceived miss-management had scared investors away and it remains to be seen whether the company can tempt investors into giving them a second chance,” he added.

SuperGroup, which has stores in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull, said first-half total sales rose 16.2 per cent to £158.2 helped by stronger product ranges and operational improvements.