Shares in Superdry were trading 6.5% down this morning as it emerged that founder Julian Dunkerton, who stood down from the firm in March, has sold 5.5m of his shares, representing around 6.7% of the company.
Dunkerton is said to have made around £71m from the sale in which shares were priced at 1,285p and he has retained 15.1m shares, or around 18.5% of the company.
At the time of his departure at the end of March, Dunkerton, who co-founded the business 15 years ago, held a stake of around 25% but upon leaving he gifted shares up to the value of £1,157,486 by way of a personal donation to The Blue Marine Foundation, a UK registered charity that exists to protect our seas from overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity.
Superdry was conceived in 2003 when Dunkerton partnered with James Holder, who had formerly founded the Bench brand, to create an in-house label for his Cult Clothing chain of stores. Cult Clothing, which Dunkerton had founded in 1985, was eventually retired and Superdry went on to become a global phenomenon.
It its last set of results in the year ending April 2018, the business achieved a 22.1% increase in global brand revenue of £1.6bn while underlying profit before tax was up 11.5% to £97m. It rewarded shareholders with a “special dividend” of 25p per share as a result of strong cash generation.
However this was also seen as a reward for shareholders who had stuck with the brand after its stock dropped following news that its revenues had slumped 6% in the final quarter of the financial year, when sales were hit by the so-called “Beast from the East” which left much of the country covered in snow.
City AM reports that analysts at Liberum have downgraded Superdry shares from “buy” to “hold” noting that earnings momentum had slowed recently and that the brand is a riskier investment now it is without the leadership of its founder.