Cold snap adds a glow to Superdry and Shop Direct


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The arrival of cold winter weather on Boxing Day boosted sales of SuperGroup’s coats and knitwear, the fashion company said yesterday.

Shares in the retailer, which is led by the former Co-op boss Euan Sutherland, rose 10 per cent after its like-for-like sales rose 12.4 per cent during the 11 weeks ending on 10 January, despite the warm autumn.

SuperGroup, which began as a Cheltenham market stall in the 1980s, is best known for its Superdry-branded clothes; it has 96 stores in the UK and has expanded worldwide.

Mr Sutherland said that the company’s full-year results are expected to be in line with City expectations, even though one of its significant wholesale customers, Bank Fashion, collapsed last week.

The results mark a turnaround of sorts after a profit warning in October. “I am pleased to report a very strong set of results,” Mr Sutherland said. “Our upgraded infrastructure was tested to the full by Black Friday and in the busy lead up to Christmas.”

Elsewhere, Shop Direct, which is owned by the reclusive billionaire Barclay brothers, said Black Friday was its busiest day on record with orders at up 134 per cent year on year. The company’s total group sales rose  4 per cent in the seven weeks to 26 December, with an item branded with Disney’s hit animated film Frozen sold every 16 seconds.

Shop Direct’s boss Alex Baldock said of Black Friday: “It was huge for us and acted as a starting gun for Christmas shopping – the peak came earlier than in recent years. Traders like ourselves will thrive in the environment that Black Friday creates and we’re happy that it’s here to stay.”

Pre-tax profits at another retailer, Leicester-based Shoe Zone, almost doubled to £10.6m in the year ending 4 October, it said yesterday. Its August “Back to School” range and “2 pairs [of shoes] for £25” offer did particularly well, although revenues were down 10.8 per cent to £172m because of store closures.   

Anthony Smith, the chief executive, said: “Despite the well documented warm start to the autumn/winter season, we believe that 2015 will be a further year of growth for the group. The board continues to see significant opportunities ahead and remains confident that the business will perform in line with market expectations.”

Shares in Shoe Zone, which listed in London last year at 160p, closed up 3.5p at 236p.