Studley-born James Holder’s SuperGroup fashion retailer is recovering from a big drop in share price in 2012. Thanks to encouraging growth in its online business, the company has pushed its sales up 14.9 per cent to £360.4 million for 2012-13.
The group, which owns the Superdry brand, increased its internet sales by 27.8 per cent in 122 territories, but profits only inched up slightly to £51.8 million.
The company upset its investors and suffered a self-inflicted drop in share price in the summer of 2012. For a while it had a torrid time in the markets after putting out a profits warning which resulted in a 38 per cent drop in share price.
As it turned out, the warnings were over-pessimistic and profits and revenue for that year were actually up on the previous year.
In 2012-13 SuperGroup’s retail sales rose 5.7 per cent on the previous year on a like for like basis as total space in its UK and European store portfolio increased by 13.8 per cent. The number of franchised and licensed stores rose from 56 to 162.
The group is looking to expand further in Europe and is working with Clipper Logistics to operate its new 500,000 sq ft distribution centre in Burton on Trent. The group has also signed a five-year franchise deal to expand into Turkey.
James Holder began his career in fashion 23 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 he founded in 2003.
Brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, 41 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 10 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.
For one the brands most recent ranges, SuperDry teamed up with Timothy Everest MBE, a classically-trained tailor to the stars who has dressed Government ministers, Hollywood legends and pop superstars.
James Holder now lives in the Cotswolds with his wife Jessica, son Noah and an Aston Martin DBS.