SuperGroup dissapointment fuelled by Asian markets fall

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Nippon Yusen KK shares lost over 3 percent following a drop in cargo rates. Trend Micro, Ajinomoto Co, Fuji Electric, Bridgestone Corp, Fast Retailing, Panasonic Corp, J Front Retailing and Mitsui & Co shares drifted down by 1 to 2 per cent. In the retail sector, SuperGroup surged four per cent to 320 pence (US$ 5.16 or Rs 276.6) per share in early deals after reporting growth in sales at both its retail and wholesale businesses.

"Although the fourth quarter has been a disappointing end to a challenging year, the brand remains strong and this, together with the group's investments in key senior personnel and system infrastructure, provides a solid platform for the coming financial year," said chief executive of SuperGroup Julian Dunkerton. Retail sales surged 24.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to April 29, while like for like sales, which exclude the impact of new store openings, were flat. The owner of the Superdry brand said online sales continued to be strong but the challenging retail environment has seen a slow-down in sales from stand-alone stores and concessions.In addition to that, sales at the wholesale division also improved, rising 4.4 per cent compared with the same period of 2011.

In the same line, Dunkerton told Reuters on Thursday "I'm fully confident that the brand is strong and healthy and alive." "You have to remember we have grown by 675 per cent in four years and we are now building up the structure to assist us going forward," he said. Last month SuperGroup lost over a third of its market value after its third profit warning in a year, attributed in part to "arithmetic errors". Mark Photiades, Singer Capital Markets said for Retail Week: "Many of Supergroup’s issues in the past have been due to poor execution and recent hires chief operating officer Suzanne Given and head of retail operations Claire Arksey have a very important role ahead to instil basic retail disciplines within the business." Their input, along with the new finance director Shaun Wills’s ability to rebuild confidence in the group’s finances will be vital in re-establishing credibility with investors."

Elsewhere, Kohl’s reported first quarter;s net income of $154 million (Rs 825 crores) compared to $201 million (Rs 1,077 crores) a year ago. Net sales were $4.2 billion (Rs 22,517 crores), an increase of 1.9 per cent for the quarter. Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 0.2 per cent.

Clear winner of the day was Dutch sports retailer Head that presented unaudited sales results for the first three months accounting for sales up 17.1%. At constant currency the sales for the first three months of 2012 were up 15.6% compared to the first three months of 2011.

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