We should have done better, says retailer

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Superdry owner SuperGroup yesterday admitted that the problems that triggered a 14.7 per cent fall in profits were mainly self-inflicted.

The group said it “should have done better” after a year blighted by an accountancy blunder and being caught out with stock shortages as it struggled to keep up with its rapid rate of expansion.

It opened 19 new stores in the UK and Ireland during the year, bringing the total to 79, but will slow its expansion this year as it seeks to grow “in a controlled and measured way”.

Underlying profits fell to £42.8m in the year to April 29 but the group denied its brand was in decline and recent trading had been broadly in line with expectations despite being affected by the weather.

SuperGroup’s shares have lost more than half of their value from peaks in early 2011 amid fears that the brand was losing its edge.

However, the stock rose yesterday amid relief that the group had spared investors more nasty surprises after a catalogue of errors over the past year.

Chief executive Julian Dunkerton, who founded the group in 1985 from a market stall in Cheltenham, said: “Whilst sales have continued to grow substantially, this has been a disappointing year for the group.

“We have faced challenges brought about by the rapid growth of our business, which have been compounded by the volatile and adverse market conditions being experienced by all fashion retailers.”

But he added he was “encouraged” by the potential for 2013 ranges.