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Gloucestershire Business News

Superdry sales plunge 36.9 per cent but Dunkerton remains optimistic

Cheltenham-based fashion retailers Superdry has reported a 36.9 per cent slump in sales for the fourth quarter, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Financial results released today show retail sales also dropped by 57 per cent, causing full year sales to drop by 22.9 per cent to £288.3million.

All Superdry stores across Europe, the USA and UK were closed by March 24 in line with government guidelines - forcing the business to only trade online.

This prompted growth in e-commerce revenues, nearly doubling in the last four weeks to approximately £3.7million per week compared to the average prior to complete lockdown. The shift online offset approximately one third of the lost store sales.

Group revenue dipped 19.1 per cent to £705million for the full year to April 25 as the business said that it had moved towards a full price trading and away from persistent discounting.

The fashion retailer said its e-commerce performance in the six weeks to March 7 materially improved, growing 18.8 per cent year on year until the outbreak of COVID-19.

Wholesale revenues were down 20.1 per cent year on year, and down 35.8 per cent in Q4 -caused by suppressed demand and customers' inability to receive stock. 

Superdry said shipments are now resuming as lockdown measures ease and franchise stores begin reopening.

In a statement titled 'Response to COVID-19' the business said it was "working collaboratively and with the support of our longstanding supply base" and had extended payment terms, increased discounts and substantially rebalanced and rescheduled stock intake.

Superdry has furloughed 88 per cent of its 4,600 staff since the start of the outbreak. Executive directors were also reportedly taking a 25 per cent pay cut for a minimum of three months as well as not receiving bonuses for 2020 or 2021.

The majority of three month rent deferrals requested, worth more than £20million, had also been agreed with landlords. 

As of May 6, 48 stores had reopened across Europe and a further 130 were expected to do so by the end of the month.

Reacting to the results, chief executive officer and founder Julian Dunkerton, said: "Our first priority through the pandemic has been supporting our colleagues and communities through what is a very uncertain time. 

"We are proud to have supported the NHS and other key workers close to our Gloucestershire headquarters, for instance through donating 300,000 items of vital PPE to local care homes.

"As with all retailers, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused major disruption to our business operations and supply chain."

He continued: "I am pleased with the accelerating shift in sales to online, and we've seen a particularly good performance from our women's ranges which, for the first time ever, are accounting for around half our sales. 

"Clearly, however, the closure of all our stores has had a major impact. We are taking all practical steps to preserve cash, looking carefully at all areas of the business and working to secure additional liquidity and financial flexibility.

"We continue to work hard so that the business can emerge stronger from this extraordinary period. It will take time to return to normality, for now we remain open for business online through superdry.com, our stores in Europe have begun to reopen and I am excited by our new ranges for the Autumn/Winter season."

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