SuperGroup’s planned new fulfilment centre, which it revealed yesterday is in development, is a clear sign that the new management team is the safe pair of hands needed to propel its phenomenal growth.
In just a year at the retailer, chief operating officer Susanne Given has made her mark by not just stabilising a business that was operationally wobbly but gearing it up for future growth.
The new £5m distribution centre in Burton-on-Trent is critical not only to keep up with SuperGroup’s rapid growth but to help put its online operation in line with rivals’.
Until recently, despite its popularity with young, web-savvy customers, the retailer was falling behind its rivals in terms of service online.
Given says that’s all going to change. “It’s going to extend out cut-off times [for next day delivery] by at least one-and-a-half hours,” she says.
Web shoppers these days want immediacy - to be able to receive their products by the time they wake up the day after ordering. The fulfilment centre will help take SuperGroup’s already healthy web business to the next level.
However, even more important is the role it will play in SuperGroup’s international expansion, which is where its big growth opportunity lies. The Burton warehouse is conveniently situated next to DHL’s international base, from which carriers depart as late as 1am in the morning.
This could enable super speedy international deliveries, making Superdry as competitive as some domestic retailers overseas.
As SuperGroup rapidly extends its brand presence overseas, the warehouse initiative seems well-timed to keep it up to pace with projected international sales growth.
Given has been working on the project since she started at SuperGroup and is keen to give the retailer as long a lead-time as possible for the move into Burton. And who can blame her - the retailer famously suffered an IT glitch which affected a new warehouse management system which wiped £9m off profits in its last financial year.
Oriel analyst Jonathan Pritchard said that incident showed SuperGroup’s logistics were not fit for purpose and, in what is becoming an increasingly common in the City, is positive about both the new warehouse and the process of moving into it.
He says: “We can’t possibly argue that everything is sure to go without a hitch, many retail distribution handovers have met problems, but with a new head of logistics set to be named soon, bringing this issue to a conclusion is a positive for SuperGroup.”
The new warehouse will be fully operational at the end of SuperGroup’s 2014 financial year.
Given and her coleagues have slowly but surely been gathering a following in the City and SuperGroup, which was shunned by many analysts after a couple of operational hiccups last year, is getting back on track.
The retailer is showing that it not only has the right infrastructure but the right team to ensure growth continues.