x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Store that dresses celebrities wants to stage a bigger show

The UAE forms a crucial part of the expansion of Superdry, the clothing brand that is fast becoming a hit among celebrities young and old.

Superdry is fast becoming a hit among celebrities young and old. Jason Alden / Bloomberg News
Superdry is fast becoming a hit among celebrities young and old. Jason Alden / Bloomberg News

The UAE is expected to play a major role in the ambitious expansion plans of Superdry, the clothing brand that is fast becoming a hit among celebrities young and old.

SuperGroup, the British company behind the brand, announced this week it would open 50 stores worldwide, on top of the 73 existing franchises.

Clive Stanley, the retail chief executive at Al Khayyat Investments, the owner of the Superdry franchise in the UAE, said the company had signed leases with six malls across UAE and was in negotiations with two more malls.

"We are also looking at expanding overseas, exploring options outside the UAE and bringing the brand to other parts of the GCC," he said.

Superdry, which competes in the same segment as Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch, is a favourite with celebrities such as the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Zac Efron as well as the footballer David Beckham.

SuperGroup, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, is one of few retailers to buck the gloom plaguing much of the UK high street this year.

The company reported a 66 per cent increase in sales to £54 million (Dh317.9m) in the three months to July 31 and revenues at the wholesale division nearly doubled from £11m to £21m, driven by international expansion.

The shares increased 7 per cent on the back of the company's announcement on Wednesday and were trading at 1,070 pence yesterday afternoon.

Superdry has 64 UK stores and concessions, and plans to add stores in York and Birmingham, and the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London.

In the UAE, Al Khayyat has two stores in Dubai's Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre and has signed leasing deals with Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall and the emirate's Marina Mall, as well as Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, Sowwah Square and Reem Mall.

Al Khayyat is also in negotiations for stores in Abu Dhabi Mall and the capital's Marina Mall.

"We're developing a strong retail portfolio," said Mr Stanley. "SuperGroup has a whole division that is looking after the international development. They are also looking at expanding in the US and Japan."

Superdry's existing stores in the UAE have seen month-on-month growth of 5 per cent since opening, he added.

Al Khayyat is a Dubai-based company that represents more than 200 brands in the UAE, including Peugeot, Mazda, Durex, Europcar, Fila and BurgerFuel.

SuperGroup was the darling of the UK stock market last year, listing its shares for 500 pence and subsequently seeing the price reach 1,899 pence in February this year after repeatedly reporting strong growth in sales.

A fourth-quarter trading statement released in May caused the market to turn on the stock, and the share lost much of that gain.

rjones@thenational.ae