Superdry rejects co-founder’s 'supercharge' plan
Written by Hannah McGrath
Clothing retailer Superdry has rejected a plan put forward by co-founder Julian Dunkerton to turn around the company’s fortunes.
Dunkerton, who stepped down from the board last year has been locked in a power struggle to return to the company he started as a market stall business in 1985, and later went on to co-found as a clothing chain in 2003.
In a bid to set the company back on track following profit warnings and a 75 per cent slump in its share value last year, Dunkerton has published a plan named “supercharging Superdry” which outlines the measures he believes are needed to return the firm to “its design-led roots to arrest this decline and revert to growth”. He has also launched a 'Save Superdry' website.
Earlier this month it was reported that the company had launched a consultation with staff at its Cheltenham headquarters as part of plans to cut running costs in a move which could result in up to 200 job losses.
Collectively, Dunkerton and co-founder James Holder retain a 28.5 per cent holding in Superdry. Holder left the company in 2016 to set up consultancy firm Design Lab.
In a letter to fellow shareholders containing details of his plan, Dunkerton requested support for his bid to be appointed to the board of directors. He pledged to implement his programme to refocus Superdry's brand identity and refresh its e-commerce business.
However, in a letter to shareholder released today, the company bluntly rejected Dunkerton’s proposals and strongly recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal to elect Dunkerton and Peter Williams, a retail industry veteran and chairman of e-commerce brand Boohoo, to the board of directors at an extraordinary general meeting next month.
A letter sent by chairman Peter Bamford to shareholders said: “The board unanimously believes that Mr Dunkerton's return to the company, in any capacity, would be extremely damaging to the company and its prospects.”
“There is little new information and no clear articulation of the proposed strategy or action plan in the statement,” he added.
Bamford also insisted that the board and management team were “wholeheartedly and unanimously” committed to implementing its digital brand strategy as well as an intensified transformation programme announced in December 2018.
Superdry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.