Activist investor Gatemore snaps up stake in Superdry
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.