Superdry says it has focused on improving the way it sells online over its latest financial year – when sales fell by a fifth as stores were closed during repeated Covid-19 lockdowns.
The retailer has invested in its website and grown its social media following by 9% during a year in which its stores were shut for 39% of potential trading days – rising to 69% in the fourth quarter of the year. As recently as May 3, 27% of its shops continued to be closed, with restrictions continuing in EU markets - but Superdry reports “encouraging” trading since its UK shops reopened.
The update came as Superdry reported in a full-year trading update group sales of £704.4m – 21% down on the same time last year. In the fourth quarter of the year, it posted a 0.8% sales rise in the fourth quarter of the year.
During the full-year, to April 24, Superdry store sales halved (-50.9%) to £140.9m, after being closed for 39% of their potential opening days. Wholesale revenues of £212.8m were 19.9% down on the previous year as Superdry’s partners were also hit by Covid-19 lockdown and store closures. But ecommerce sales of £202.9m were up by a third (+33.8%) on the previous year - including £8.3m in online sales that were fulfilled by its stores.
In the fourth quarter alone, store sales of £14.3m were less than half of the previous year’s sales (-51.5%) while shops were closed for 69% of their potential opening days, but wholesale revenues recovered to £63.1m (+13.5%) and online sales of £40.9m (+26.6%) were ahead of the previous year, albeit less sharply than in the full year. This appears to reflect Superdry’s return to full price trading during the quarter - and profit margins were 7.5% up on the previous year.
Superdry chief executive Julian Dunkerton says: “Our strengthened ecommerce presence has helped mitigate the impact from enforced closures of our stores. We returned to revenue growth in Q4, and our commitment to a full price stance over the period has seen significant online margin improvement. Our liquidity remains strong, with closing net cash ahead of last year and our facilities remain undrawn.
“Despite all the disruption of the past year, Superdry has demonstrated its resilience and we have used this time to ensure the business is in the best possible shape for the future, really focusing on developing our digital presence and making strides towards our goal of being the most sustainable listed fashion brand.”
He adds: “The early signs following the reopening of our UK stores are encouraging, as lockdown restrictions start to lift, and we can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. In short, we are on track with our reset of the brand and there’s a lot to look forward to.”
Online, Superdry has improved search and navigation, and is currently replatforming its owned sites. And on social media, it has seen its follower numbers rise 9% since the launch of its 2020 Autumn/Winter collection, with Instagram followers 12% up over the same period. In particular, Superdry’s Neymar Jr campaign has seen “record engagement rates” achieved through “rigorous targeting”, with 2m engagements on its own channels in the first three weeks.
Superdry is also focusing on sustainability, with an ambition for all of its cotton-only products to be organic by 2025.
Superdry sells from 768 Superdry shops in 65 countries, including 245 owned stores in the UK and mainland Europe, and 497 franchised and licensed stores and 26 concessions. Online it sells to more than 100 countries from 21 international websites. It is ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research.