Superdry's Dunkerton still confident on transformation plans

Senior management at fashion retailer Superdry are confident the company can deliver on its transformation plans despite the coronavirus crisis continuing to impact the business.

Julian Dunkerton, who founded the business in 1985 and returned to the CEO hotseat last year after a boardroom dispute that ended in the departure of the previous leadership team, said today (10 August) the company is making its way through this “unprecedented period”. The brand reset he promised on returning to the top job is still on the cards, he added.

Dunkerton is embarking on a strategy to increase the brand’s product range and become less reliant on discounting than it was under previous leadership. Before the health crisis hit and disrupted much of the retail industry, Superdry was seeking to more than double its range and further expand its wholesale business.

Today, Superdry announced new £70 million asset backed lending (ABL) facilities with existing providers HSBC and BNPP, which it said provides flexibility and liquidity going forward. As at 6 August, the retailer had £57.8 million net cash on its balance sheet, which is significantly up on last year.

Trading for the 13 weeks to 25 July at Superdry – its first quarter – has been better than initial expectations, but the pandemic and subsequent store closures has led to sales dropping considerably year on year.

Total group revenue for the period was down by 24.1%, and with 95% of its shops now open store revenue declined by 58.1% – or the equivalent of a 32.3% like-for-like drop. Wholesale revenue was down by 31% year on year, but eCommerce provides a success story with online sales up by 93.2% year on year.

Superdry said online trade had normalised in recent weeks as stores re-opened and it continued to “trade against the promotional stance in the comparative period last year”.

"The actions we have taken to date have greatly strengthened our cash position, which together with our new ABL facility, give us the flexibility to execute our current plans and to secure our recovery,” Dunkerton commented.