SuperGroup expects an “aggressively” promotional Christmas but new boss Euan Sutherland has insisted it will stick to its no discounting policy.
Sutherland, who took up his role at the retailer on Monday, said SuperGroup would not make a “knee-jerk” reaction but would instead use its outlet stores to clear winter warmers it has yet to sell as a result of the unseasonably warm autumn.
He said SuperGroup, which has warned on profitsbecause of the mild weather, is expanding its network of outlet stores across Europe.
SuperGroup chief financial officer Shaun Wills added: “We’re not for short-term gains. This is about the strength of our brand and preservation of that brand.”
Chief operating officer Susanne Given admitted that sales lost during the hot spell would be “very difficult to get back” and the stage was set for a discounting frenzy across the high street in the run-up to Christmas.
She observed: “It will be every bit as aggressive as last year.”
However, Wills maintained there was still an opportunity to claw back some sales. He said: “We still had stock during the cold spring a year or two ago. While everyone had T-shirts in, we were selling jackets. That could still happen.”
The extremity of the weather meant SuperGroup has been achieving double-digit sales growth in polo shirts year on year, according to Sutherland. However, sales of such items have not offset slow-selling pricier items such as coats.
SuperGroup has brought in more ‘evergreen’ products such as jogging bottoms, T-shirts and polo shirts, which would be available in stores all year long, to protect it from weather volatility.
Given also said that SuperGroup was focused on bringing in new product lines such as its skiwear and rugby clothing to drive footfall to stores.
Despite the excess stock issues, Sutherland said SuperGroup was “well set up” for Christmas.
He said: “The stores are looking good, clearly we’re well stocked and are operationally set up for Christmas. We’re moving into a gifting phase which sells irrespective of weather. We’re very confident.”
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