business

Rich List 2017: No.27 - James Holder

Superdry co-founder James Holder has seen his wealth remain constant at £165 million while dropping four places on the Rich List

James Holder

Fashion
2017: No.27 - £165m
2016: No.23 - £165m

Revenue is growing at Studley-born James Holder’s SuperGroup fashion retailer – the company he founded with Julian Dunkerton and Theo Karpathios in 2003.

Growth is being fuelled by a programme of new store openings.

After a big drop in share price in 2012 the Cheltenham-based fashion chain is seeing encouraging growth in its online businesses as well as 136,000 sq ft of new store space.

The company has pushed its sales up £589.5 million for 2015-16 compared to £486.6 million the previous year.

Sales in the fourth quarter of the year grew by 30 per cent.

The group, which owns the Superdry brand, increased its pre-tax profits to £74m compared to £63m the previous year.

Retail revenue increased by 24.5 per cent, with its wholesale business increasing by 13.7 per cent.

]A further 24 new stores have opened across Europe and new distriution centres are being set up to serve retail customers in Europe and North America.

Birmingham Post Rich List 2016: The Midlands' wealthiest top 50

In 2015 firm signed a deal to take the brand into the Chinese market as it expands its global ambitions.

SuperGroup signed a 50/50 joint venture with Chinese rival Trendy International Group.

Both firms have pledged to invest a combined £18 million over 10 years..

James Holder has stepped down from his role as brand and design director in order to lead the SuperDesign Lab which focuses on new product innovation for the group.

James Holder began his career in fashion 25 years ago when he sold T-shirts from the back of his mother’s car at BMX events.

Now, a bankruptcy, a marriage and a couple of companies later, he runs the uber-cool Brit fashion label Superdry which is sold in more than 100 countries worldwide, with its worldwide growth directed from its Superdry International store in Regent Street.

Brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, 44 year-old James Holder went to college in Leamington Spa.

While he was there he began designing T-shirts, and founded the BMX and skateboarder label Bench.

He teamed up with Julian Dunkerton, co-founder of Cult Clothing who is still his business partner, and they set about marketing their designs.

They ordered 2000 of each garment from their Walsall manufacturers and took them to potential outlets.

Barrie Suddons, owner of Bristol-based Westworld Stores liked what he saw and the brand was assured.

Birmingham Post Rich List 2016: No.23 - James Holder

Eventually he signed away his shares in Bench and was declared bankrupt in 1998.

But he carried on designing and founded Superdry 12 years ago.

The firm’s designs became huge hits when David Beckham was seen wearing them on his 2005 calendar.

Other celebrities followed suit including Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, and now Superdry is the favoured streetwear label of the stars. Singer Pixie Lott is a devoted fan.

In March 2010 Superdry’s parent company SuperGroup floated for £395 million, netting James Holder £18.8 million.

The share price tripled almost immediately.

The label’s big sellers, besides its graphic T-shirts, include windcheaters, gilets and lumberjack shirts.

James Holder is rarely pictured wearing anything else other than his own brand. He now lives in the Cotswolds with his wife Jessica and son Noah.

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