Superdry boss says brand still has growth potential

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The Independent Online

The chief executive of Supergroup yesterday dismissed concerns about "an over-saturation" of its trendy Superdry brand and insisted it still had plenty of growth to shoot for, as its shares hit another high.

Supergroup unveiled a 86.9 per cent jump in total sales to £81.7m for its third quarter to 30 January, boosted by strong underlying revenues and new store openings. This compared with 74.7 per cent per cent growth over the nine-month period.

But Andy Wade, an analyst at Numis Securities, said: "In particular, we have concerns that the heavily branded and highly recognisable designs [Japanese writing] featured across the majority of the Superdry's product range, may lead to an oversaturation of the brand."

However, Supergroup's founder Julian Dunkerton hit back, saying: "The hardest thing is to create a brand. If you were reliant on one logo or product, I would be sweating but we are not. The product is selling across the categories. We have truly become a strong brand."

Furthermore, as Supergroup, which also operates the Cult clothing brand, has just 59 standalone UK stores, Mr Dunkerton said: "There are geographical areas in the UK where we have virtually no presence at all. There is still a long way to go in the UK."

It opened six new UK stores in the last quarter. Supergroup is also expanding rapidly overseas and last week acquired CNC Collections BVBA – its Benelux and French franchise partner – for up to €40m (£34m) in cash and shares. The owner of Superdry opened 15 franchise stores in the third quarter. Further stores will be opened in countries including France, Italy, Switzerland, the US and Middle East before the end of April.

Supergroup floated at 500p in March 2010 and its shares powered ahead by 48p to a high of 1793p yesterday.