The chief executive of embattled clothing retailer Superdry has raised his stake in the company while denying speculation that he plans to take it private.
On January 31, Julian Dunkerton — co-founder of the brand in 1985 — acquired 301,768 ordinary shares at an average price of 120p each. Four days later, he purchased a further 51,988 shares at roughly 121p apiece.
Superdry disappointed investors in late January, when management told investors that it would only manage to break even in its current financial year. It had previously guided towards a pre-tax profit figure of £10mn-£20mn.
The company also reported a loss before tax of £17.7mn for the six months to the end of October as revenues in its wholesale business slumped. The label’s partners, particularly those in mainland Europe, had retained a large amount of inventory accumulated during the pandemic’s peak. This meant that there were fewer sales of higher value, current-season products in the first half.
The trading update was followed by speculation that Dunkerton would choose to delist the firm. He subsequently issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange claiming that he had “no plans to do this at the moment”.
In making the announcement, Dunkerton agreed not to participate in an offer for Superdry in the next six months unless the board agreed to the move, or a third party made a bid of its own.
Shares in Superdry have fallen by around 30 per cent over the past month. Markets had, however, previously taken purchases by Dunkerton as a vote of confidence in the business.
When the chief executive spent £2mn upping his stake in mid-October, shares rose by around 10 per cent in a single day.
Dunkerton now owns around a quarter of Superdry’s shares.