Brokers and analysts remain cautious about the fashion retailer following flat like-for-like sales and an accounting “arithmetic error”, but hope new maangement will instil confidence.
Simon Chinn, Conlumino
“Supergroup has reported a 24.7% rise in retail sales for the final quarter of its financial year and 29.6% growth for the year overall. While this may look impressive given the current challenging trading environment, this represents a significant slowdown for the group as a whole, with like-for-like sales flat in the final quarter.
“The slowdown in growth is even more evident from its wholesale division which reported an increase in sales of 4.4% in the final quarter. Its wholesale division was impacted by delays to franchise stock shipments in the final quarter.
“Going forward wholesale growth is likely to continue to be undermined by the group’s growing own-store portfolio both in the UK and abroad. While new store openings have helped drive overall retail sales growth, this momentum can only be sustained in the short term. Over expansion risks making the Superdry brand even more ubiquitous than it is already becoming.”
Mark Photiades, Singer Capital Markets
“Many of Supergroup’s issues in the past have been due to poor execution and recent hires chief operating officer Suzanne Given and head of retail operations Claire Arksey have a very important role ahead to instil basic retail disciplines within the business.
“Their input, along with the new finance director Shaun Wills’s ability to rebuild confidence in the group’s finances will be vital in re-establishing credibility with investors.”
Wayne Brown, Canaccord Genuity
“Supergroup has had an annus horribilis of a year; after three profit warnings, the shares have declined 75% relative to the General Retailers. There are no surprises in the fourth quarter interim management statement which re-affirms profit before tax guidance of £43m for the full year 2012.
“The group has suffered from growing pains with an increased reliance on discount channels and ordering problems within wholesale holding back growth. Despite these issues we have not wavered from the view that we believe in the Superdry brand but management have to convince that it has a strategy that can deliver.”
Jean Roche, Panmure Gordon
“Retail sales in line, wholesale division shortfall. Retail sales growth of 24.7% to £39.4m compares with our forecast of £39.6m (+25.2%). Flat like-for-like retail sales are disappointing given that last year, the comparable is widely understood to have been negative.”