September 4, 2014 / 7:09 AM / 3 years ago

UK's SuperGroup says new season ranges well received

LONDON (Reuters) - SuperGroup (SGP.L), the British company behind the Superdry fashion brand, forecast a year of profit growth after a 15.9 percent rise in first quarter sales and a good start to its autumn-winter season.

Shares in SuperGroup rose more than 10 percent on Thursday after the firm said sales of its trademark jackets, hooded tops, check shirts and jogging bottoms rose to 87 million pounds in its April 27 to July 26 fiscal first quarter, from 75 million pounds in the same period last year.

The firm also said retail sales had improved in the first five weeks of its second quarter as new ranges hit stores.

"There has been a material shift in performance in the latter five weeks as we have gone into autumn-winter ranges," Chief Financial Officer Shaun Wills told Reuters.

"There's a consistency across our geographies and channels that suggest that the ranges are resonating with the customers quite well."

Chief Executive Julian Dunkerton said he expected the new season to be "all about jackets".

Sector analysts are forecasting a consensus pretax profit of 70.3 million pounds for SuperGroup's 2014-15 financial year, according to a company-supplied poll, up from 62 million pounds in 2013-14.

Total retail sales in the first quarter rose 13.6 percent to 60.4 million pounds. However, sales at stores open more than a year fell 3.7 percent.

The company said this reflected strong sales in the same period last year, shortages of key spring-summer lines such as shorts and polo shirts and a highly competitive market, with rivals in the youth sector such as Ted Baker (TED.L), ASOS (ASOS.L) and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF.N) discounting more than in previous years.

The firm said like-for-like retail sales had only fallen 1.0 percent in the 18 weeks to Aug. 30 - thanks to sales of the new autumn-winter ranges during the last five weeks of the period.

First quarter wholesale revenue increased 21.6 percent to 26.6 million pounds, while the order book for autumn-winter 2014-15 was up about 10 percent.

Shares in SuperGroup, down more than a quarter this year prior to Thursday's update, were up 108 pence at 1,154 pence at 0838 GMT, valuing the business at about 932 million pounds.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by David Clarke

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