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SuperGroup reports online sales up by a quarter

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SuperGroup this week reported online sales up by more than a quarter in its latest financial year, despite a slowing in visitors that came as customers moved to mobile. The multichannel fashion retailer said it had responded by rolling out tablet and mobile sites and would continue to invest in the “long-term opportunity” of ecommerce as it looks to generate “significant growth” online.

The company, owner of the SuperDry clothing brand, reported online sales up by 26.7% in the year to April 26. At the same time, total group revenue grew by 19.6% to £430.9m compared to the same time last year, with retail sales up by 17.7% at £285.5m. Like-for-like sales were up by 3.2%. Underlying pre-tax profits rose by 18.8% to £62m, but bottom-line pre-tax profits fell to £45.2m from £51.8m last time.

The company said improvements in website traffic and to the conversion rate – which rose from 1.9% to 2%, were driven by service improvements including free delivery and returns and a later cut-off time for next-day delivery. It said the growth came despite moving away from promotional activity such as discounts and vouchers. And it also said visitor growth did slow during the year “as mobile became a more important channel for the customer, but the recent release of new mobile and tablet sites across most of the group’s international websites puts the business in a strong position to return to historical growth rates.”

The company appointed former Asda multichannel director Jon Wragg as director of ecommerce in April. SuperGroup said: “Ecommerce continues to be a significant global opportunity for the group and Jon’s experience and insight, coupled with the investment already made into world-class delivery services, should generate significant growth over the medium-term,” it said.

During the year the company also decided to end its eBay “megasales” which had boosted turnover but had “almost no impact on profit”. Such sales will now take place in its own stores.

Average order values rose by 8.1% to £78.90, driven by international growth. After opening Chinese and US websites over the last year, SuperGroup now operates 18 international websites sites in 15 countries, featuring localised payment, content and local currency pricing. Some 13 of the sites also have mobile versions and more are underway.

Elsewhere the company said it had focused on expanding womenswear and on international growth.

Julian Dunkerton, chief executive, said: “We have delivered a solid performance over the past year, with profits up 19%, whilst managing the transition to our new distribution centre and the implementation of the merchandising management system. With a strong pipeline of new stores, particularly in mainland Europe, we are well positioned for further profitable growth in the year ahead. The strength of the Superdry brand and the investment we have made in our business leaves me confident in our ability to implement and deliver the growth strategy.”

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