Supergroup posts 3.1% fall in like-for-like store sales; shares slip

Stock in SuperGroup suffered a steep decline on Thursday after the owner of the Superdry fashion brand reported fall in quarterly sales and warned that its annual profits would be towards the lower end of market expectations.

The Cheltenham-based company said its like-for-like store sales slipped 3.1 per cent in the three months to April 26, 2014, due to tougher trading conditions and a later Easter.

It also warned that its profits for the just ended financial year would be towards the lower end of City forecasts, which projected the company's annual profits in the range of £61.1 million to £65.2 million.

Kate Calvert, an analyst with Investec, said, "During quarter four, retail space contribution was better than we expected but this was offset by a weak underlying like-for-like sales performance. After a year of infrastructure investment, we expect European roll-out to be 2015's story as the brand gathers momentum internationally."

CEO Julian Dunkerton however insisted that the decline in sale was a blip after a many successful quarters, adding that total sales in the three months under review jumped 12.4 per cent to £97.8 million, but the market had higher expectations. But retail consultancy Conlumino said the company's like-for-like sales decline indicated that no fashion brand is fail-safe, irrespective of its current popularity.

Including the recently launched franchised operations in France, Italy, Indonesia, India and the Czech Republic, SuperGroup now operates 516 stores worldwide.

SuperGroup shares slipped 12.54 per cent to close at £11.79 apiece, wiping nearly £120 million off the company's market value.

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