Supergroup Blog: Superdry / 77Breed / SurfCo onwards and upwards
Today is my sister’s birthday and a couple of days ago I headed out to House of Fraser to buy her present – a jacket. I walked passed Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Diesel and Warehouse straight for Superdry…
I like Supergroup. I like Supergroup a lot! Most of you will be more akin to its core fashion label ‘Superdry’ (other brands within the group include ‘77Breed’ and ‘SurfCo’). Superdry has been the runaway success for the group as evidenced by the soaring sales and share price seen since the group’s floatation. After launching on the LSE in March 2010 at 500p a share, the price as at December end is floating around the £12.30 mark therefore valuing the group at c£1bn (up from £400m at it’s launch!!).
So without a doubt Mr Julian Dunkerton (founder and c30% shareholder) is a very happy man. What we see on the shelves and in stores up and down the country is very much amiable to both young men and women. I’m not going to use the cliché term ‘urban clothing’ and I’ll probably want to double backhand anybody who does! It’s not ‘urban clothing’ (what does that even mean??) but as the company describe, it’s stylish clothing, unique designed and well made It’s easy to see why the label has caught the attention of the target market that so many brands aspire to reach. Having the likes of David Beckham wearing your clothing line also helps promote your brand I guess
However, it should not be underplayed how management’s vision, strategy and passion for clothing have led to their present day success…
The groups origins began c25 years ago as a market stall on the High Street of Cheltenham under the aptly titled ‘Cult Clothing’. Head honcho Julian supported this start up through a £40 a week allowance from a Government Enterprise Scheme (I’d like to ask Julian this question directly one day – £40!!!). The idea for Julian was simple – he wanted to sell on his stall clothes that took his own fancy when shopping in London (moral of the story (i) do something you enjoy!). Now the group has 55 stores in the UK and 53 overseas. They’ve obviously moved on from just being on a marketstall!!
From the audited accounts we can see that business started to really take off with the launch of the Superdry brand, introduced into the business by his partner James Holden - founder of Bench (moral of the story (ii) – surround yourself with good people). With their floatation and equity investment international expansion is at the forefront of their minds. The audited accounts to May 2010 also show the business generated £18.4m of cash for their full year – hold on, a retailer generating cash!! Cellar Door salutes you
Whilst some question the ability for Supergroup to continue their amazing growth, continuing to tap into foreign lands (spearheaded by Theo Karpathios), will relieve dependence on the domestic market, thereby spreading the risk.
What is also very clever about Superdry is the fact that the logo is hard to define. They’ve almost created a unique clothing style, which whilst edgy and different in a strange way is … well theirs. This might sound a bit confusing but I was reading an article in The Telegraph, which described the pitfalls of say French Connection and the ‘once oh so hot FCUK’ logo. This was great whilst it lasted but when people got tired of looking the same as everyone else, sentiment towards French Connection changed – you only have to look at the decline in profitability of FCUK to see how the fickle fashion tastes can affect a company’s bottom line.
Anyway enough from me – it’ll be good to see where the brand is in say 5 years time. I hope it’s still flourishing since from afar it is admirable to see a company that retains it’s traditions / headquarters in Cheltenham, has an understanding of what consumers want (whilst not afraid to present new ideas), isn’t afraid of taking risks (they launched their IPO at a time when others shat their pants and decided to hold off due to economic conditions – look who’s laughing now!!) and above all Mr Dunkerton just seems like a real cool guy!
Courtesy of ‘The Thinker’