Superdry proposes further store closures as it targets online sales

The fashion retailer’s proposed restructuring plan suggests it will close stores and reduce headcount.

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Struggling fashion brand and Y2K favourite, Superdry has suggested it will close more of its 96 UK stores as part of a radical restructuring plan, as it seeks to avoid becoming the latest high street brand to fall into administration.

In the proposal, sent to shareholders on Monday, the company announced aims to reduce its “cost-onerous store footprint” over the next year.

Once a beloved British brand, Superdry has struggled with various leadership challenges and pricing miscalculations over the past decade. In April, the company said it wanted to delist from the London Stock Exchange by the end of July.

Which Superdry stores could close down?

The published notice refers to the closure of certain Superdry stores in the UK if the restructuring goes ahead.

Eight shops shut down last year at various sites including Ipswich, Luton, and Stoke On Trent. In April, shoppers said goodbye to another outlet at the Overgate shopping centre in Dundee.

It’s unclear which outlets Superdry will lock up next. However, CoStar has reported it is seeking rental reductions at around 40% of its 94 UK stores, representing around 37 sites.

Between 25 and 30 stores across Europe have also been earmarked for closure over the next 12 months, the statement declares.

As of 2024, the company employs around 3,350 staff members. The restructuring plan refers to “the reduction in the number of personnel associated with these store closures”, although an exact figure for the expected jobs lost has not yet been confirmed.

Shift to online

Dunkerton has also indicated that Superdry will invest heavily in improving the brand’s ecommerce offering if his restructuring plan is accepted. 

The proposal refers to “the implementation of a new third party e-commerce platform to replace its existing proprietary system, which will enable a revitalised and more efficient e-commerce strategy in the UK and internationally”.

This “refreshed ecommerce approach”, it says, will allow the brand to keep up with fast-moving fashion trends and move away from seasonal ranges that quickly go out of style.

Many brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled to contend with the ecommerce boom. Online sellers, who don’t need to pay for large stockrooms and real estate, can often afford to offer cheaper prices, enticing customers who are seeking cheaper deals.

Tellingly, brands including Marks and Spencer, which have invested in their websites and shopping apps, have seen a return to profitability this year.

Will the plans be accepted?

The suggested restructuring has been put forward by boss Julian Dunkerton, and has not yet been confirmed by creditors. Shareholders will spend the next few weeks deciding whether to accept the designs.

Dunkerton has previously found himself in hot water with his board of directors. He famously stepped down as boss in 2018, before forcing himself back in one year later when the company’s share price came crashing down.

However, Dunkerton appears so confident the board will accept this proposal that he has pledged to insure the plan using up to €8m of his own money.

If the board doesn’t back the plan, Sky News has reported that the business will enter an emergency four-week sale process, which will also likely lead to job losses and store closures.

The situation is similar to that of another large retailer, The Body Shop, which entered administration earlier this year and will be auctioned off this week.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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