Ac­tivist in­vestor Gate­more snaps up stake in Su­perdry

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Laura Onita

AC­TIVIST in­vestor Gate­more has snapped up a 3pc stake in Su­perdry af­ter a slump in the fashion chain’s share price.

The hedge fund – which has pre­vi­ously de­manded a shake-up at ail­ing re­tail­ers Moss Bros, French Connection and Ma­jes­tic Wine – claimed to be fully sup­port­ive of co-founder Ju­lian Dunker­ton’s vi­sion as he bat­tles to turn around the com­pany.

Mr Dunker­ton re­turned as boss of Su­perdry last year af­ter a board­room coup, the cli­max of a bit­ter bat­tle with pre­vi­ous man­age­ment over the di­rec­tion of the busi­ness.

Mr Dunker­ton orig­i­nally co-founded the com­pany with James Holder in 2003. It en­joyed huge suc­cess in sub­se­quent years with its Ja­panese-style hood­ies and jack­ets.

How­ever, it is now fight­ing to make its clothes rel­e­vant again un­der his lead­er­ship, at a time when cus­tomers are de­sert­ing the high street to buy on­line and dis­counts abound as firms try to shift clothes un­sold due to lock­down.

Liad Mei­dar, man­ag­ing part­ner at Gate­more, said the re­tailer has proved re­silient de­spite the chal­lenges posed by the pan­demic and its ca­sual out­fits should con­tinue to sell well. Gate­more has been grad­u­ally buy­ing shares over the past year.

Mr Mei­dar said: “We look for­ward to dis­cussing our views fur­ther with the board, man­age­ment, and other share­hold­ers over the com­ing months.”

Ac­tivist share­hold­ers typ­i­cally buy a chunk of stock in a com­pany and de­mand seep­ing changes to push up its share price. Su­perdry stock has slumped by about 70pc over the past 12 months alone, trad­ing at 118p. Five years ago it was worth £14. A source close to Gate­more said it hopes the com­pany will re­cover over the next two years, per­haps by as much as 500pc.

Su­perdry also prides it­self on its eth­i­cal sourc­ing, in­sid­ers at the hedge fund said, giv­ing it a cru­cial ad­van­tage over some ri­vals in the wake of the con­tro­versy around sweat­shops in Le­ices­ter.

Su­perdry’s Chi­nese fran­chise is also seen as a ma­jor op­por­tu­nity for the strug­gling re­tailer, which has 670 sites world­wide.

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