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Superdry co-founder's turnaround efforts hit by pandemic

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The retailer, known for outerwear emblazoned with Japanese characters, lost about 42 million pounds (S$73.6 million) on an underlying basis in the year through April, compared with a profit of 38 million pounds the prior year.

[LONDON] Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton will have to wait to see whether his turnaround plan is working, as the UK apparel chain was hit hard by the pandemic.

The retailer, known for outerwear emblazoned with Japanese characters, lost about 42 million pounds (S$73.6 million) on an underlying basis in the year through April, compared with a profit of 38 million pounds the prior year. Write-downs related to its real estate holdings contributed to the shortfall.

Superdry said business in the current year is improving, with online sales nearly doubling year-on-year in the first quarter, but said there is a "material uncertainty" over the outlook.

Mr Dunkerton, who returned to run the brand last year after a boardroom battle, wants to reduce discounting and freshen Superdry's designs. The autumn and winter range is the first collection under his full control since he returned.

There's a downside to the move away from discounting - the company cited that as a reason why total revenue fell about 19 per cent last year.

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In August, Superdry secured new lending and extended payment terms in a move to give it more time to carry out its turnaround.

Shares in Superdry fell as much as 7.8 per cent early on Monday. They are down more than 70 per cent since the start of the year.

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