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SuperGroup and SportsDirect report double digit online growth

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SuperGroup and Sports Direct International today reported double-digit online growth in the first half of their financial year.

SuperGroup, which operates the SuperDry brand today said group revenue of £208.2m in the half-year to October 25 was 8.4% ahead of the same time last year, thanks to a fast expansion plan. Internet sales grew by 13.8%, with full-price ecommerce revenues up by 15.9%. SuperGroup said the figures reflected the effect of reduced eBay selling. As a result, 10.2% of group sales were made online in the first half, down from 11% at the same time last year.

Meanwhile, SportsDirect said online sales in its sports retail division to £176.4m in the six months to September 26, up by 11.1%, as retail revenues grew by 8.3% to £1.2bn. Across the business, group revenue grew by 6.5% to £1.4bn, and pre-tax profits by 4.6% to £149.7m.

SuperGroup focused on international online expansion during the period, adding new sites in Australia, South Korea and Taiwan, to take it to a total of 21 country and language-specific sites. E-demand was highest from France and Spain. The rollout of a multi-national, multi-currency platform is now well underway.

Online, SuperGroup said web visitor numbers and average basket size were down in the period, while conversion rates increased. This reflected, said the company, the closure of the Cult website in the first quarter, and high street trends. It said traffic from mobile and tablet overtook desktop during the period, as such traffic increased by 10 percentage points to hit 51%.

Across the SuperGroup business, like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of 12 new owned stores and 20 new international franchised and licensed stores that opened during the year, were down by 4.1% as milder than usual weather hit.

Pre-tax profits of £17.2m were 73.7% up on the same time last year.

The company said first-half trading had been “disappointing” but said historically the “vast majority of profits” were generated in the second half.

Incoming chief executive Euan Sutherland said: “SuperGroup is an exciting business with a strong brand and significant growth opportunities which, during this period, has suffered from widely publicised external factors. Additionally, I have identified that there are some parts of our operations that we can improve.

“I am reviewing every aspect of the business, including the execution of our strategy, cost management and capital allocation and will report our conclusions in the spring.”

He said the company was well prepared for the peak season and was on track for full-year profits in the guided range of between £60m and £65m.

At Sports Direct, the company said the emphasis was on building a profitable online business to complement its stores. Since the end of the half-year, the company has trialled click and collect in 400 stores.

Chief executive Dave Forsey said the results had been “solid, considering the adverse impact on performance during the period of England’s early departure from the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the unseasonably mild weather during Autumn reducing footfall.” He said the company was in line to meet its full-year profit target of earnings before interest, tax and asset depreciation of £360m.

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