Supergroup and Burberry prove Britannia's still got it

Ok, so 'cool Britannia' might be a bit over-ambitious. But British brands are still flying the flag, as two sets of results out today prove.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
Despite its unfortunate propensity to actively encourage men to tuck their jeans into their boots, Justin Bieber-style, we’re unashamed fans of SuperGroup, the UK clothing retailer. And although it’s been a bit off-trend in the City lately, it may be back in fashion after its latest results: the owner of the Superdry brand proudly sported by slebs from Kate Moss to Zac Effron (and, no doubt, the Biebmeister himself), said profits surged by 89% in the year to May, with sales up 71% to £238m. Not bad for a company that only came into being seven years ago. With Burberry also reporting another jump in revenues today, it’s good to know that – despite yesterday’s disappointing trade figures – there are plenty of brands still spreading the good word about UK plc.

The City had been getting nervous recently that SuperGroup was starting to lose momentum; to become a bit over-exposed. But actually, today’s results indicate that its aggressive expansion strategy is working really rather well. The Cheltenham-based group, which also owns the 77Breed and SurfCo California brands, says it opened 20 new stores last year. And its ambitions don’t end there: last month, it said it was planning to open 50 international stores over the next year. It’s also supposedly poised to take over Austin Reed’s Regent Street store in a deal worth £12m (the first change in occupancy for that premises in about a century).  

Trading figures like these will have come as a relief to SuperGroup founder Julian Dunkerton – an MT Top 100 Entrepreneurs alumnus – who, having floated his company last year at £5 per share, watched its price rise to nearly £18, but then crash like Superman on kryptonite following (relatively) lacklustre growth. The good news, though, is that today’s results pushed the share price up by a very respectable 132p to £10.06.

But SuperGroup isn’t the only one flying the flag (cape?) for British business abroad. Luxury goods brand Burberry has also released encouraging figures this morning: revenues rose 34% in the three months to June 30, to £367m – well above the City’s £340m forecast. The brand put it down to higher-than-expected ‘in-season’ orders, which it said would push up wholesale revenue excluding China by a ‘high teens percentage’. It’s another sign that while many retailers are still struggling, the luxury market is faring relatively well. That’s a lot to do with success in emerging markets, where the newly-wealthy middle classes value brands like Burberry for their heritage status.

SuperGroup might have a while to wait before it’s considered heritage – but if its expansion strategy continues to go as well as this, it’s only a matter of time before the young men of the Chinese middle classes are tucking their jeans into their boots with the best of them…

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Subscribe

Get your essential reading delivered. Subscribe to Management Today