Fashion retailer Supergroup, which owns brands Cult Clothing and Superdry, is pressing ahead with major UK and international expansion plans after doubling its store portfolio over the past year.

Supergroup owner Julian Dunkerton told Retail Week he will open up to 40 stores across both brands over the next three years. He said the company’s like-for-like sales were up 17 per cent for the year to October. “We’re in a brilliant position. We’re very clear about what we’re doing and it’s a great time to expand,” he said.

He added the company will expand at a rate of eight to 12 stores a year for the foreseeable future. At present it has 22 stores in the UK across both brands and opened its largest UK store to date in Liverpool One – a 12,000 sq ft (1,115 sq m) Cult Clothing store – at the end of September.
The majority of product sold in Superdry and Cult Clothing is from the Superdry range, which has been boosted by endorsements from David Beckham.

Supergroup will also open standalone stores for one of its existing fashion brands in February next year. Urban fashion and streetwear range 77 Breed will make its debut on the UK high street in a 3,000 sq ft (280 sq m) store in Covent Garden.

Dunkerton is on the brink of signing for another 77 Breed store early next year. He said he will roll out stores slowly, but is planning “a lot more if it works”.

He explained that landlords’ weakened position in the economic climate has allowed Supergroup to ramp up its expansion plans. “It’s very competitive for landlords at the moment. If there are 50 landlords that want you and you can only open 12 stores then it gets into a very competitive environment. There aren’t many retailers expanding,” he said.

Dunkerton forecasts a tough time for the retail property sector over the next two years. “Our footprint will be a lot larger by the time the problems stop for landlords,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy in commercial property.”