Superdry warns of ‘uncertain’ time as stores close and customers stay away

Superdry is facing a “fluid and uncertain” situation, its boss has warned after closing 78 stores across Europe as governments urged shoppers to abandon the high street to prevent coronavirus spreading.

The fashion outlet said that a majority of its continental stores have been forced to close, representing around 40% of its weekly sales. Stores in the UK, which account for 50% of sales, and the US, 10%, have seen footfall reduce by a quarter, despite keeping their doors open as usual.

“Along with everyone else, Superdry is experiencing major disruption to our business operations and recovery as we seek to protect our staff and customers from Covid-19,” said chief executive Julian Dunkerton.

“We are taking mitigating action wherever we can but the situation is very fluid and uncertain, and we are working to put in place additional financing to secure our recovery.”

Superdry will not meet targets to sell between £5 million to £6 million worth of its products each week this year.

It added that online sales were not going to “fully mitigate” the drop from in-store sales, and cost savings would also fall short of offsetting the decline

As a result, Superdry has withdrawn its annual guidance given to shareholders in early January.

The company said it has £47 million of cash on its balance sheets and is in discussion with its banks to “provide additional flexibility and liquidity” should it be needed.

“We … welcome the measures announced by the Chancellor yesterday to support UK businesses,” Mr Dunkerton said.

On Tuesday Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised to unleash a £350 billion package to help save UK businesses, slash business rates and hand out grants to pubs and retailers.

Mr Sunak said that Britain had never faced a similar economic fight in peacetime.

On Wednesday, Mr Dunkerton added: “The safety of our staff and customers remains our number one priority and we continue to take all appropriate action in line with local government advice. Together, we’re going to make our way through this unprecedented challenge, and I’m confident we can reset the brand and deliver on our transformation plans.”