Superdry, the fashion label that has undergone a boardroom shake-up, with its co-founder Julian Dunkerton returning to the helm, said it had taken swift action to improve the business as it issued its third profit warning in eight months.
Dunkerton, the company’s biggest shareholder, last month won a six-month battle to rejoin the company, prompting the resignation of the entire board – including the chief executive Euan Sutherland.
Superdry said it would miss City forecasts of a pre-tax profit of £54.1m to £59.4m for the year to 27 April. Group revenues are flat on the year but fell 4.5% in the fourth quarter. The biggest drag on revenue in the full year was its performance in its shops, where sales fell 3.7%.
Dunkerton, who is the interim chief executive, said that in his first five weeks back at Superdry he had prioritised the restoration of its “strong brand identity”.
He said: “My first priority has been to stabilise the situation and all of us in the business are putting all our energy into getting the product ranges right and improving the e-commerce proposition, which are two important steps towards addressing Superdry’s recent weak performance.”
Dunkerton has increased the number of products sold online and put more stock on the shop floor at its flagship stores, including London’s Regent Street.
He has also cut back on promotions to improve profit margins – two-for-one deals at outlet stores have been ditched – and expects to launch 500 new products in the next six months. He has abandoned plans for a new children’s range, however.
Having handed over the chief executive reins to Sutherland in 2014, Dunkerton remained at the company and latterly held the part-time role of “founder and product brand director”. However, he left in March last year after he strongly disagreed with Sutherland’s revamp of the business, which led to a collapse in sales and a string of profit warnings.
Launched as a clothing stall at Cheltenham market in 1985, Superdry has expanded in recent years from its trademark hoodies and sweatshirt tops into dresses, skirts, women’s tops, denim, sportswear and licensed goods.
Dunkerton said: “The impact of the changes we are making will take time to come through in the numbers but I’m confident we are heading in the right direction.”
Superdry said Dunkerton would run the company as interim chief executive until it was back on track. It is looking to recruit a new chief financial officer and non-executive directors.
Peter Williams, Superdry’s new chairman – who is a former Selfridges chief executive and ex-chairman of Boohoo – said: “The company’s financial performance won’t be turned around overnight but we know what we need to do and we are wasting no time in addressing the challenges which the business faces.”
The company has been reviewing its 1,179 stores and will make a provision for onerous leases and underperforming stores when the full-year results are announced on 4 July.