The warning was “surprising and yet highly predictable”, said analyst John Stevenson at broker Peel Hunt in a note entitled “Was that really necessary?”
He noted that back before July’s final results, “we were bracing for a major kitchen-sinking of forecasts”, with low expectations for the wholesale order book, with the new management team not havingfull control of product ranges before autumn 2020 and the cost savings likely to take time to deliver.
“However, the kitchen-sinking never happened. By the interims on 12 December, ‘Christmas had been saved’ and the mood music was enthusiastic and optimistic.
“Today doesn’t affect the recovery roadmap, but it does raise questions over judgement and the core ranges,” Stevenson said.
“Not surprised #superdry are struggling,” said self-styled ‘comedy mum’ Pip Mumbles as the brand started trending on Twitter, “they spend all their money on zips” - with a photo to demonstrate the retailer’s recklessness with fasteners.
Someone calling themselves MrWillardWatts on Twitter had clearly thought a bit more about how the FTSE 250 group could regain its lustre.
“If @Superdry turned the music down, turned the lights back on, made the rails wide enough apart a pram to get through and stop writing super dry on EVERYTHING in massive letters.
“They could become the ‘trying to be cool middle age man’ uniform again.”
In fact there was lots of useful feedback for founder Julian Dunkerton, who ousted the rest of the board as he returned to the helm last year before announcing a two-to-three year strategy ‘reset’ to get “full control” of product and costs.
This included a big problems with over-small sizing, the branding approach and a surprising number of social media users who flagged up the Superdry's popularity not just among "dads" but even more among undercover policemen.
Pedro Karsan offered “some advice”, saying something that a lot of people were also thinking: “The big writing across the chest doesn't appeal to the public now. Max 2 zips only for any coat please”.
With this, hopefully Pedro will add to his four followers on Twitter.
Assistance came from all quarters, not just dads, with ‘Cheeky Monkey’ aka @Sarah_K_B83 saying the company’s problem is that it is “Way too expensive”.
It wasn't clear how serious Dave Nelson in Liverpool was being when he suggested, “The problem with #SuperDry is that it does not keep you super dry. Water resistant maybe very few waterproof coats. It should’ve been sold off eight years ago and integrated into a portfolio.”
The problem with #SuperDry is that it does not keep you super dry. Water resistant maybe very few waterproof coats. It should’ve been sold off eight years ago and integrated into a portfolio— Dave Nelson (@DA_Nelson100) January 10, 2020
Back in the Square Mile, stockbroker Liberum agreed the profit warning "will ire shareholders but understandable considering sector challenges in the period post Black Friday".
Liberum analysts said Superdry's deterioration "was in some part self-inflicted having adopted a higher full price sales mix post Black Friday when the market continued to discount heavily" and while a full-price stance is "appropriate for branded fashion companies"..."this only works when the quality of the product and ranges are adequate and maybe the management were too aggressive with this stance while still trying to clear less than ideal mix of inventory".
They reckon it will take until Autumn/Winter 2020 when "we should start to see this mix product start driving a sales recovery".
Not surprised about Superdry struggling. Their products are repetitive and overpriced. They've branched out into styles and types that never suited the brand in the first place.— Neil (@Shinobi_Neil) January 10, 2020
They need to trim down to what they used to do well, rather than trying to do too much