SUPERDRY clothing company SuperGroup and Zara-owner Inditex both shrugged off the economic gloom miring Europe to post higher profits.
Profits at SuperGroup grew by 13 per cent over the past six months, while Spanish retailer Inditex posted a 27 per cent rise.
SuperGroup – which started life as a market stall in Cheltenham and which also owns the Cult chain of clothes shops – said that the strong current trading performance meant it was well-positioned ahead of the key festive period.
The group – which has a portfolio of 81 wholly-owned stores, 71 concessions and five franchises in the UK and Ireland – reported that like-for-like sales in the six weeks 28 October 28 were up 9.3 per cent, compared to 3.9 per cent growth in the previous six months.
Sales of jackets, gilets and sweatshirts helped drive a 13 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £14.7 million in the six months to 28 October.
However, this performance was flattered by soft sales in the previous year, when the company was hit by problems with new warehouse management systems.
SuperGroup chief executive Julian Dunkerton said: “Although the trading environment has remained challenging and volatile, the group’s sales performance in the first half of the year has been encouraging.”
He added: “The economic outlook remains uncertain but I am confident in our strategy and our ability to maximise the opportunities we have in the UK and internationally and deliver our full-year profit targets.”
The company said group revenues were up 16 per cent to £158.2m in the first half of its financial year as it opened three stores and closed one store in the British Isles.
The firm also opened 14 franchise stores – mainly in Asia and the Middle East – as well as five concessions, of which three were in South Korea, and two licensed stores in the United States.
Online sales were up 24 per cent in the period and the business now operates through 12 overseas websites, including new sites for Canada, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Inditex posted a 27 per cent rise in profits after another year of rapid expansion at the retail giant.
The world’s largest clothing retailer added 360 stores in 54 different markets in the nine months to 31 October and said its estate has since reached the 6,000 mark with last week’s opening of a flagship store on London’s Oxford Street.
Those openings drove a 17 per cent rise in net sales to €11.4 billion (£9.2bn) for the nine-month period. Profits improved to €1.7bn. The expansion has helped the group – which also trades as Bershka, Massimo Dutti and Pull & Bear – to buck challenging conditions in its economically-challenged home market.
Inditex generates only about 25 per cent of sales within ailing Spain after growing its overseas operations and increasing its online presence. The company has about 100 stores in the UK, with the majority under the Zara brand, but does not provide a regional breakdown on its trading.