2018: No.30 - £170m
2017: No.27 - £165m
Strong growth in Europe and the US and less dependence on the UK market mean that shares in Studley-born James Holder’s SuperGroup fashion retailer are in demand.
The company he founded with Julian Dunkerton and Theo Karpathios in 2003 has seen a 50 per cent rise in pre-tax profits while revenue is up be more than a quarter. Growth is being fuelled by a programme of new store openings, a wider range of clothing and a stronger on-line presence.
The company has pushed its sales up to £752 million for 2016-17 - an increase of £27.4 per cent.
The group, which owns the uber-cool Brit fashion label Superdry, increased its pre-tax profits to £84.8 million compared to £55.4 million the previous year. The group extended its network with 60 Superdry-branded franchise store openings, bringing its total to 570 stores and concessions in 45 countries worldwide.
In 2015 the firm signed a deal to take the brand into the Chinese market as it expanded 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 2016 in order to lead the SuperDesign Lab which focuses on new product innovation for the group. It is developing a sportswear collection, as well as innovative running jackets which light up in the dark. The label has signed a deal with Prince Harry's Invictus Games to provide the UK team with specialist high performance outfits.
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 Superdry which is sold worldwide. SuperGroup is due to be renamed Superdry, reflecting the strength of the brand.
Brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, 45 year-old Mr 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.
Eventually he signed away his shares in Bench and was declared bankrupt in 1998. But he carried on designing and founded Superdry 13 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.
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.