SuperGroup says 'product wins the day' as sales jump

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The Independent Online

The fashion retailer SuperGroup has shown its UK fashion rivals a clean pair of heels by delivering almost a 10 per cent leap in underlying sales over the festive period.

The operator of the Superdry and Cult clothing brands cited particularly strong sales of accessories such as scarves, wallets, phone cases and gloves.

SuperGroup, whose shares have had a rollercoaster ride since floating at 500p in March 2010, grew its underlying UK retail sales by 9.3 per cent in December. Sales rose by a more modest 5.8 per cent at its 76 UK standalone stores, online operation and concessions in department stores over the longer, nine-week period.

Jonathan Pritchard, an analyst at Oriel Securities, said: "This is an especially strong performance when the tough competitive environment is taken into account."

The results also appear to prove that SuperGroup has overcome its warehouse IT glitch that led to a profit warning in October.

Julian Dunkerton, its chief executive, said: "It is back to normalised trade for us after the warehouse problems. People were saying Christmas was going to be awful and, like I say, product will always win the day."

Its performance compares with disappointing clothing sales in stores at Next and Marks & Spencer over their most recent reporting periods.

Total sales at SuperGroup rose 22 per cent to £79m over the nine weeks. But the group's wholesale revenues fell by 4 per cent, which it attributed to some suppliers delivering stock earlier this year. That said, sales at its wholesale division, covering international and UK independent chains, are up 54 per cent this financial year since May.

The retailer opened the first of the four floors at its new flagship store on Regent Street just before Christmas. The group's shares, which hit £18.20 in February 2011, fell 4p to 547p.