Superdry owner celebrates very merry Christmas

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The owner of the Superdry fashion label put previous stock issues behind it when it reported strong sales in the run up to Christmas.

SuperGroup said like-for-like retail sales were ahead 5.8 per cent in the nine weeks to January 1 and up 9.3 per cent in December.

The group, which owns 72 Cult and Superdry stores – including branches in Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and York – and 74 concessions in the UK, was forced to open temporary warehousing after a new system suffered teething problems, leaving many stores with incorrect stock and incomplete size ranges on key products.

SuperGroup said the sharp rise in underlying sales growth at stores in the run-up to the festive period vindicated its decision not to discount before Christmas.

The company’s trademark T-shirts, hooded tops, check shirts and jogging bottoms are a favourite of celebrities such as David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio and Zac Efron.

The group, which saw its shares slump by more than a quarter in October after it revealed the stock supply issues, saw total group sales, which include its wholesale business, increase 22 per cent over the period to £79m.

Chief executive Julian Dunkerton said the company had delivered “solid” sales against a challenging economic backdrop, its own distribution issues and “exceptionally” strong Christmas sales in the previous year.

He said: “Our retail business has seen an improving sales trend as our stores became better stocked following the resolution of our warehouse issues and the continued demand for our products and brand.”

SuperGroup last month warned its warehouse system blunder would cost the firm nearly £9m in lost profits.

Mark Photiades, analyst at Singer Capital, said SuperGroup is expected to report pre-tax profits of £53m in the year to May, compared with £50.2m the previous year.

He said: “SuperGroup has reported an encouraging Christmas update in retail including like-for-like growth of 9.3 per cent in December against very strong comparatives, highlighting previous stocking issues have been put behind them.”

Mr Photiades said he would expect growth to “ramp quickly back up” as new spring and summer ranges start to appear.

SuperGroup’s shares closed down 0.7 per cent last night, a fall of 4p to 547p.