UK's SuperGroup says to meet profit forecasts

LONDON Thu Feb 6, 2014 2:38am EST

LONDON Feb 6 (Reuters) - SuperGroup, the British company behind the Superdry fashion brand, said it was on track to meet annual profit forecasts after posting a 22.1 percent rise in third-quarter sales.

The firm said on Thursday that sales of its trademark jackets, hooded tops, check shirts and jogging bottoms were 141.1 million pounds ($230 million) in the 13 weeks to Jan. 26.

Though official UK retail data published last month showed the sector recorded its fastest annual sales growth in more than nine years in December, Christmas trading updates from major store groups have shown mixed results.

Unlike rival retailers, SuperGroup did not go on sale before Christmas.

"As a result of focusing on full-price trading during the quarter the margin gains achieved during the first half have been maintained, leaving the group well placed to meet market expectations for the financial year," it said.

Prior to the update, analysts' average forecast for 2013-14 pretax profit was 63 million pounds.

Third-quarter retail sales rose 18.2 percent to 113.8 million pounds, with sales at stores open over a year up 1.3 percent. Wholesale sales increased 41.7 percent to 27.3 million pounds.

"Our strong spring/summer 2014 order book and the positive responses from both the media and our trading partners to the autumn/winter 2014 range presented at the London men's fashion week, give me confidence in the product range going forward and the strength of the brand," said Chief Executive Julian Dunkerton.

SuperGroup's shares have more than doubled over the last year as trading improved and management rebuilt credibility after a string of profit warnings in 2011 sent its shares plummeting.

The stock closed on Wednesday at 1,492 pence, valuing the business at 1.2 billion pounds.