Bottom Line: Dunkerton silences critics with quick work

Elizabeth Fournier

JULIAN Dunkerton made little attempt to disguise the pleasure that he took in announcing Supergroup’s rise in annual profits yesterday.

“Where there were doubters, now there are none,” he said, hailing a “return to form” that’s seen the firm put the distribution worries and accounting errors that had weighed on its share price firmly behind it.

Considering it’s less than two years since Supergroup shocked the market with a string of profit warnings – with each turbulent update wiping yet more value off its market cap – it’s no wonder Dunkerton was in fine voice yesterday. For a while, it looked like he was going to be at the helm of one of the big flotation failures of the past five years – having floated at 500p and reached highs of 1,899p in early 2011, just a year ago Supergroup’s stock had slumped to just 267p. But a rapidly implemented programme of changes to both infrastructure and management have seen a swift return to form – and Dunkerton is clearly feeling confident enough to wax lyrical about his plans for the firm, from a push into the lucrative premium denim market to international expansion plans that include a potentially money-spinning Chinese website.

The Superdry brand has remained strong throughout the rollercoaster ride, and Dunkerton has proved he knows how to redeploy resources to get the best returns – and fast.

Even though shares have bounced back to 858p, they’re way below highs and still look cheap compared to their peers.

That might not last for long.