SuperGroup Seeks to Strengthen In Europe

LONDON -- Fashion retailer SuperGroup announced a solid trading performance in Q4 in a trading update this morning, with total group sales increasing by a healthy 15.8% to 86.6 million pounds.

Total retail sales rose 10.9% on Q4 2011-12, to £43.8m, while wholesale sales for the quarter soared 20.2% to 43 million pounds, with SuperGroup "well placed to deliver underlying profit before tax in line with market expectations."

Across the 52 weeks to 28 April 2013, total group sales increased by 14.7% to 360.1 million pounds, with retail seeing sales growth of 18.3% for the year and the wholesale division reporting sales growth up 9.2%.

The owner of the Superdry label has strong international demand for the brand, too, with the portfolio of franchised locations increasing by five during the quarter to 144, with two stores opened apiece in France and Spain, and one each in Denmark, India, and Lebanon (with stores closing in Italy and Jordan).

Domestically, SuperGroup continues to expand as well, with 28,000 square feet opened in the quarter and a total of 66,000 square feet opened in the year, helping the company to end the year with 113 stores trading across 537,000 square feet.

Chief executive officer Julian Dunkerton commented:

I am pleased that the fourth quarter has seen a good trading performance against the backdrop of a challenging market given the extended period of cold weather in early spring. We have delivered solid sales and profit growth this year at the same time as enhancing financial and operational processes. In addition we have made significant progress with developing our product ranges, especially the improvements in womenswear styling.

After a year of consolidation, financial year 2014 will see the Group start to move back toward historic levels of space growth as it develops its European presence. The investments in I.T. and logistics will continue to secure and strengthen the business and, with further developments in our ranges planned, I am encouraged by the Group's prospects.

In a quarter that saw many high-street fashion retailers suffer from lower footfall due to the unseasonably cold start to spring, management were also keen to point out that both the stand-alone stores and Internet operations performed well.

Shares were largely unaffected in early trade, remaining around yesterday's closing price of 720 pence. Having initially floated at 5 pounds, reaching a high of around 18 pounds, before crashing to a low of about 260 pence, the fashion retailer is one of the most well-known growth shares in recent years.

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