- H1 like-for-likes up 8.1 per cent
- Underling EPS up 28.3 per cent
- Drivers of womenswear, international and online
Underlying first-half profits were marginally ahead of expectations at FTSE 250 clothing retailer SuperGroup, owner of the SuperDry brand, as international and online sales thrived.
Like-for-like sales grew 8.1% and with the opening of opened eight owned stores in the UK and Europe and 35 new international stores total sales swelled 21.4% to £192.1m. Underlying profits before tax (PBT) were up 21.8% to £17.9m and underlying earnings rose 28.3% to 16.3p per share.
Although statutory PBT, which included exceptional items and re-measurement of deferred contingent share consideration and financial derivatives, was down 29% to £9.9m, analysts were on the whole impressed as the results were ahead of most forecasts.
For example, Wayne Brown at Canaccord said: "We view these results as very strong considering this is a period of significant infrastructure investment yet trading momentum has continued to improve across all channels."
The much-scrutinised womenswear range has been shaken up, with "more feminine silhouettes and fabrics" and more subtle branding, which Chief Executive Julian Dunkerton said was a chief reason for the like-for-like growth.
"In a year that the group is focusing on significant infrastructure investment our trading momentum has continued with strong increases in revenue and underlying profit giving us confidence for the future," he said.
New IT infrastructure is nearing completion and a new UK distribution centre completed on budget and ahead of schedule in November and costing £1.6m in the period and an expected £2m in the second.
Both divisions grew well in the period, with retail revenue and profit up 19.3% and 24.1% and wholesale rising 25% and 36.6% respectively.
Dunkerton reported that the spring/summer 2014 order book was showing growth of around 26%, which he said demonstrated the continuing momentum in the wholesale business.
Online shopping was a major contributor to the strong results, at 11% of group sales, up from 10.2% in the comparable period.
"E-commerce continues to thrive and international sales represented a greater proportion of internet sales than the UK, indicating strong global demand for the brand. Superdry products are now sold globally through stores in 41 countries and the 16 international websites which, together with the group's investment plans, will continue to drive further international awareness of the brand," he added.
Broker N+1 Singer said: "The strengthened management team has taken control of the business and has improved important practices across key areas. Credibility has improved and investor appetite has returned with the focus turning back to the growth potential of this young brand."
Analyst Mark Photiades said the infrastructure spending should result in a "firmer and more efficient" platform from which to exploit the international and multichannel growth opportunities in the years ahead.
"However, there are risks associated with major process changes with even the very best operators hard pressed not to encounter some operational disruption. Given its history we believe SGP is engineering the projects against disruption, presumably at some cost which should drop away in outer years."
rose initially before dropping 2.9% to 1,218p by 11:32 on Thursday.