Superdry buoyant on womenswear, digital and global growth
When an earnings report starts with the words “disruptive multi-channel approach delivers 20% growth in sales and profit,” you know it’s going to be a good one.
And so it was with Superdry (its name newly changed from Supergroup) on Wednesday. The UK-based fashion casualwear retailer and wholesaler clearly had a good first half with the 26 weeks to October 28 seeing group revenue surging.
But before we digest those figures, let’s look at the more recent period, the 10 weeks to January 6. That saw a similar, but not identical picture, with slower, but still impressive, growth.
Global brand revenue rose 13.6% to £314.4 million in the 10 weeks and group revenue rose 12.6% to £215.6 million. E-commerce revenues rose 30.5% and wholesale was up 20.4%. Retail stores were less impressive with sales growth of 3.1% despite a 13.9% expansion in trading space, although this was hardly a surprise given the plunging footfall being seen in UK retail stores for all brands last year.
The company said the performance "reflects the continued consumer move online, which is at the heart of Superdry's Global Digital Brand strategy and demands even greater focus and innovation of our in-store consumer experience.”
FIRST HALF FIGURES
So Superdry certainly seems to be on the winners list for Christmas trading, even if those figures above are lower than it saw for the first half. Looking at the full results for the first half of the year, global brand revenue increased by 25.2% to £756.3m and group revenue was was up 20.4% to £402 million.
The discrepancy between the two figures is all about the firm’s wholesale strength. The global brand revenue figure covers goods sold at retail prices, even though Superdry itself only receives the wholesale price.
So the group revenue figure is the one to focus on as that’s the money that flows directly to the firm. And while exchange rate effects added a boost to its group revenue, currency effects only added up to £12 million with most of the increase being about real business growth.
A big part of its rise was the fact that e-tail revenue surged 31.6% and now makes up 25.2% of its total, up from 21.6% a year earlier.
But while the company made a lot of its digital revenue rise, it’s also doing better than some in the physical world, despite the tough market.
Its overall retail revenue was up 12.8% to £242.7 million, including comparable growth of 6.3%, although this was lower than the year-ago 12.8%.
That figure was helped by the e-tail rise, but store revenue rose 7.6% to £181.5 million. And its wholesale revenue increased an impressive 34.1% to £159.3 million, presumably as multibrand stores bought into its proven formula enthusiastically.
It’s also worth noting that a brand previously more associated with menswear sees womenswear as its major growth opportunity. For the fifth year running, it was the firm’s fastest-expanding category in the first half.
But despite all this growth, the group gross margin of 57.1% was down from 58.8% and reflects “announced investment to reduce inventory levels and sales mix to [the] wholesale channel.”
All that meant underlying pre-tax profit was up 20.5% to £25.3 million, although reported post-tax profit dipped to £9.1 million from £12.7 million “reflecting the fair value movement on forward exchange contracts.”
Superdry said it has been turning itself into a “global digital brand”, something that has become clear from its online advance. It has been actively targeting both UK and international customers online and has continued to upgrade its web offer, which helped deliver that impressive e-tail growth.
It also sees huge opportunity for future online expansion and said that clothing sales online in its key existing markets are forecast to grow between 15% and 20% in the next four years.
And as well as higher sales through its webstore, it has also focused on “innovative digital marketing” introducing new customers to the brand. The summer campaign, The Night is Young, saw its central film having over 7 million views, leading to 1.8 million website visits, and significantly increasing the rate of new consumer acquisition. It also saw strong sales uplifts for featured designs.
The autumn This is the Jacket campaign also made an impact and was extended to Germany, delivering its first extensive, integrated, multi-media campaign in that market.
As its web strategy shows, international markets are important to Superdry and not only online. It’s heavily focused on the “key development markets of North America and China” and is now sold in 148 countries in total.
But existing markets, and “other significant development markets, remain untapped [and] represent an opportunity for significant brand growth.”
It’s targeting these through owned stores in primary catchments, franchised stores, Superdry branded webstores, partner websites, department stores, multi-brand independents, outlet stores and off-price e-tail.
The first half saw it opening its first standalone Superdry Sport store in Cape Town, South Africa and it increased its global trading space with more than 50 openings in the first half, taking total store numbers to over 605.
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