Superdry founder promises to turnaround company following £85m loss


Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton has said that he is trying to “steady the ship” after the national fashion retailer reported an £85m annual loss.

Dunkerton was told by members of the board back in March that he could not return to the company, following a shareholders meeting.

He left Superdry at the end of last year and had been critical of the fashion chain’s marketing strategy ever since. He wanted the firm to focus on selling hoodies and coats in the UK market.

The co-founder disputed the shareholder’s claim that he oversaw the Autumn/Winter collection, which fell low below sales expectations.

However, a month later, he returned as CEO under controversial circumstances. Dunkerton won a narrow victory to be reinstated to the board. Dunkerton still owns 18% of Superdry.

At the time, Peter Bamford, Chairman of Superdry, stated: “Whilst the Board was unanimous in its view that the resolutions should be rejected and 74% of shareholders other than Julian and James have voted against, there was a narrow overall majority in favour and we accept that outcome.”

Following a lengthy campaign against the previous management, Dunkerton returned and said the board had a “misguided” strategy.

As well as reporting major losses for the last financial year, Superdry warned that sales could fall further over the next few years.

Earlier today, Superdry announced that their full-year underlying profit before tax of £41.9m, was significantly below the prior year of £97m.

Dunkerton commented: “The issues in the business will not be resolved overnight. My first priority on returning to Superdry has been to steady the ship and get the culture of the business back to the one which drove its original success.

“All the team in Superdry are working incredibly hard to deliver the direction set out, with a real focus on returning the business to its design-led roots and getting the retail basics right. Although we are only three months in, our initiatives are gaining some early traction, and I am confident we are doing the right things to ensure that over time Superdry will return to strong profitable growth.”  

Peter Williams, Chairman, said: “These are clearly a very disappointing set of results. However, everything I have learnt since joining the business in April has reinforced my view that Superdry is a powerful brand with great people across the organisation. While we have been clear it is going to take time, I remain convinced that continuing to work closely with Julian and the leadership team, we are building the right plan to deliver long-term sustainable growth for shareholders.

“It has been a priority since joining to ensure appropriate corporate governance is in place, and I am delighted to have made two excellent appointments to the Board in Helen Weir and Alastair Miller, who both have extensive retail and listed company experience. I will continue to look to strengthen the leadership of the business over the coming months.”