Superdry owner Supergroup rushes out results after draft report is stolen
Superdry owner Supergroup surprised everyone as it unexpectedly released its preliminary results for the 2017 fiscal year late on Thursday afternoon. The move came after it was made “aware that an external party may have had sight of a draft” of the figures “following a random theft from an employee”.
While we would all have loved to find out just how that happened, the company was saying little, apart from giving us a sneak peek into its results.
So what have we learnt about the firm’s year to April 29? Well, we already knew that sales had powered ahead as early figures were released back in May. But on Thursday we also found out some more specific numbers.
The unaudited results showed that on a comparable 52-week basis, revenue was up 27.4% (not 27.2% as it told us last month) to £752m, with comparable retail sales growth of 12.7%.
But the underlying gross margin was down 130 basis points (bps) to 60.2%. This reflected the strength of its Wholesale channel mix as the company continued to sell a lot of its product on a wholesale basis, which is always a little less profitable than direct retail sales.
Meanwhile, underlying profit before tax rose strongly, although more slowly than sales. In fact it soared 18.4% to £87m. And on a 53-week basis, Supergroup said actual profit before tax was up 53.1% to £84.8m.
The company expects full-year underlying pre-tax profit for the current fiscal year (FY18) “to be in line with market expectations,” as it said inventory reduction has been driving operating efficiencies.
Other highlights of the hastily-assembled report included the expectation that the current year’s ongoing trading margin will be broadly flat year-on-year and there will be an up-to-100bps dilution from a planned inventory re-base due to the next phase of its Design to Customer programme. The company also said its sales, distribution and central costs are increasing more slowly than its revenue.
Supergroup added that it is continuing its “disciplined investment” with planned space growth of 125,000 sq ft (50,000 sq ft of that in the US and the bulk in the UK). Additionally, it’s planning for 60 Superdry franchise store openings, which is 20% year-on-year growth.
So there it is, a report minus all the usual comment that comes with such releases, but that’s understandable in the circumstances. The company said it plans to release its full report next Monday (July 3) so hopefully there will be more comment and explanation from the executive team. For now though, it looks like Superdry is still a super-brand, even without the fanfare of a fully-planned earnings release.
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