Superdry founder redoubles return campaign after lacklustre results

Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton has claimed that the fashion brand’s lacklustre results will aid his attempt to return to the retailer, as he launched a fierce critique of the company’s management.

Sales at the group rose 3.1% to £414.6 million in the 26 weeks to October 27, driven by wholesale and online growth, but in-store revenue declined.

Speaking to the Press Association, Mr Dunkerton said the results were a “verification” of his criticism aimed at the company’s strategy.

Mr Dunkerton has been speaking to Superdry shareholders to gain support for an attempted return to the company.

He said he would be speaking to more investors this week in light of the results.

“I think everyone wanted to see what these results were going to be like,” he said.

“They’re self-explanatory, it’s complete verification of what I’ve been saying.”

Superdry blamed sluggish sales on unseasonable weather in key markets, which has damaged demand for its signature winter clothing.

But Mr Dunkerton disputed this, saying: “If you track the record of this company, to start blaming this on the weather is ridiculous.”

Julian Dunkerton
Julian Dunkerton

Superdry’s current management is pursuing a strategy of putting a wider range of products in stores.

Mr Dunkerton, who still owns a sizeable stake but stepped down from the company earlier this year, has said there should be a small range of core products in store and a wider range of items online.

Addressing why he has chosen to stage a return, Mr Dunkerton said: “I’ve waited for them to expose their lack of knowledge of this industry.

“It’s a serious lack of knowledge. I’m probably the most experienced human being in this industry in this country as we know it. Myself and [Ted Baker founder] Ray Kelvin.”

He added: “I’m not going to go away, there’s too much at stake.”

But Superdry reiterated its strategy on Thursday, saying it had made progress on its denim range and organic cotton T-shirts.

Chief executive Euan Sutherland said: “We are six months into a product diversification and innovation programme and, as we said in the summer, it will take up to 18 months for the benefits to come through.

“In the meantime we are well prepared for peak trading and the team remains highly focused on the delivery of sales growth and further efficiencies in the remainder of the year.”