Dunkerton: "I am the only option for Superdry"
Superdry co-foudner Julian Dunkerton has said in a television interview that he is "the only option" Superdry has for turning around its fortunes.
The brand, established by Dunkerton and designer James Holder 15 years ago, has lost almost 80% of its share price value since January and is currently trading at 450p, down from 2,040p at the start of the year.
Dunkerton, who still owns an 18% stake, stood down from the brand in March (he had handed the CEO reins to Euan Sutherland in 2014 and had since been focused on product) and subsequently said he did so because he could not "put his name" to its current strategy.
He has since been campaigning to return to execute a turnaround at the business after it issued a profits warning in the autumn followed by the announcement of an almost 50% drop in half-year profits to £12.9m in the six months to end of October.
Dunkerton has reportedly hired a PR company to support his bid to return, which has been rebuffed by Superdry management, and he has been lobbying shareholders to back him. Dunkerton claims the company's decision to cut down the number of lines it sells is the wrong one and he questioned a planned move into childrenswear saying it would put teenagers off the brand.
He has made regular media appearances and in his latest with Sky News he said that he remained the brand's "only option".
"The only option now is to bring me back and say ‘right, there has to be a strategic change’ and now is the moment," he said.
Dunkerton defended his campaign saying: "I’m trying to do this in the right way for pensioners, for staff that I’ve left behind, for the company. I feel like I’ve gone through a journey of trying to do it the right way and I’m continuing to do that."
The business is located in Dunkerton's home town of Cheltenham and he said he was aware of how the brand's performance was affecting those connected to the company.
"I live in Cheltenham. This is a Cheltenham company so I am very aware of the ramifications of what is currently happening and probably the job losses that would come unless the strategy was about to change.
"It means a lot to the town, it means a lot to the staff, it means a lot to the pensioners that are being represented by the shareholders. It means a lot to everybody. The sad truth is [...] it is not going to be get better, it is going to get worse. This is the moment to turn this around," he said.
Superdry has claimed that Dunkerton's ideas had not evolved with the needs of the business.