2016: No.23 - £165m
2015: No.19 - £175m
The slowdown in the Chinese market has not come at a good time for Studley-born James Holder’s SuperGroup fashion retailer – the company he founded with Julian Dunkerton and Theo Karpathios in 2003.
The firm has signed a deal to take the brand into the Chinese market as it expands its global ambitions. SuperGroup has 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.
After a big drop in share price in 2012 the Chelthenham-based fashion chain is seeing encouraging growth in its online businesses and is worth well over £1.3 billion. The company has pushed its sales up 12 per cent to £486.6 million for 2014-15 compared to £431 million the previous year. Current half year revenues are up 22.4 per cent at £254.9 million
The group, which owns the Superdry brand, increased its pre-tax profits to £63.2 million compared to £62 million the previous year. Retail revenue increased by 17 per cent, with online sales accounting for 18.2 per cent of that. Nearly 30 licensed and franchised stores opened internationally taking the total number of outlets to 221.
James Holder is focussing on the development of the Superdry brand and other ranges, along with Julian Dunkerton who stepped aside from his role as chief executive, replaced by former Co-op boss Euan Sutherland. For the autumn/winter collection James Holder co-designed a new range fronted by actor Idris Elba - a 250-piece collection which has contributed to the company’s success.
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, 43 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 2,000 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.
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.