Superdry issues profit warning as Julian Dunkerton makes his mark

Julian Dunkerton Superdry
Julian Dunkerton

Superdry has issued another profit warning after its sales crashed in the final quarter, as the company’s new management pushes ahead with a shake-up of the business.

In the first trading update since founder Julian Dunkerton barged his way on to the board via a shareholder vote, the clothing company said its pre-tax profits will be lower than the current range of market expectations.

It comes after a previous warning from the retailer in December, when it revealed a downgrade to full-year forecasts.

The warning was a result of a 4.5% decline in group revenue during the fourth quarter, due to weaker wholesale and online performance.

Wholesale revenue declined 9.3% in the period, while e-commerce revenue was down 3.9%.

Dunkerton, now interim chief executive, said he and his team were already moving ahead with remedies.

“My first priority has been to stabilise the situation, and all of us in the business are putting all our energy into getting the product ranges right and improving the e-commerce proposition, which are two important steps towards addressing Superdry’s recent weak performance,” he said.

“The impact of the changes we are making will take time to come through in the numbers but I’m confident we are heading in the right direction.”

Dunkerton’s election to the board in April triggered a mass exodus of Superdry directors, including chief executive Euan Sutherland.

Since then, Dunkerton has implemented a raft of changes, including increasing the range available online, putting more stock into stores and reducing price-slashing promotions.

Global brand revenue for the full year was up 3.6%, but group revenue was flat.

The company is pursuing a programme to deliver more than £50m in cost savings by 2022. It will also continue a store review which was announced in December under the previous management.

Peter Williams, who was also elected to the board alongside Dunkerton and has taken up the position of chairman, said: “Today’s statement shows the scale of the challenge ahead of us.

“The company’s financial performance won’t be turned around overnight, but we know what we need to do, and we are wasting no time in addressing the challenges which the business faces.

“This includes ensuring the correct corporate governance structure and Board is in place to guide the business going forward.”