It was described by broker Canaccord Genuity as “one of the most comprehensive capital markets days that we have attended in recent years”, and SuperGroup (SGP) clearly impressed analysts and investors invited to a two-day event which outlined the clothing retailer’s strategy to take its flagship Superdry brand “from great to amazing”.
And analysts in attendance were gushing. “We are absolutely persuaded that near-to mid-term profit forecast risk remains to the upside,” says Panmure Gordon’s Peter Smedley. “The strength and depth of management… was hugely impressive,” added Canaccord’s Sanjay Vidyarthi.
Chief executive Euan Sutherland and his team told the crowd that the company would rebrand as Superdry. It’s aiming for “strong” yearly sales growth with operating costs to grow more slowly, 0-30 basis points of gross margin uplift per year, “moderate” operating margin expansion and improved cash conversion between 2018 and 2020.
A lot’s already been achieved in the last few years. It’s invested significantly in infrastructure, systems, processes and product quality; delivered cracking returns; seen 10 consecutive quarters of like-for-like retail sales growth; and paid out dividends totalling £58 million.
Now, it wants to capitalise on what it sees as a huge untapped world market opportunity, despite already being present in 148 countries. It aims to strengthen its already strong global digital brand and continue its “relentless innovation”.
“We are more excited today than we have ever been before about the future of Superdry and our ability to create long-term sustainable growth for our investors by delivering on our compelling strategy,” added Sutherland.
“Having doubled pre-tax profit FY12-15, we expect another 50% growth FY17-20, with free cash flow as a percentage of sales rising from 1.2% in FY17 to 10.5% by FY20E,” says Vidyarthi.
Smedley’s slightly ticked up earnings per share (EPS) forecasts for 2018 and 2019 to 94.8p and 111.6p respectively, though he cautions that the cost of growth may prove higher than the market is hoping for. For that reason, he admits his 1,898p target price is “cautiously set”.
“However, a continuation of SGP’s recent consistency… over the next 6-12 months may well encourage us to take that leap of faith and be more ambitious”.
Vidyarthi says any concerns over the Superdry brand and longer-term growth prospects have been allayed, while John Stevenson at Peel Hunt reckons “the shares merit revisiting for those that dismiss SuperGroup as a one-trick pony”.
Rating and price targets on the stock are already pretty bullish. Still, “there’s significant growth ahead”, Stevenson adds. He himself is the most positive, with a price target of £21.10. That said, the share price has found it tough to make any break above £17 stick. And we’re nearly there again after an 8% rally this week.
A forward earnings multiple of 16 times is a sector premium, but the shares do trade at a big discount to the online retailers. That valuation is “compelling” according to Vidyarthi, while Smedley says “the CMD is likely to shine a spotlight on that undeserved significant discount”.
It remains to be seen whether a first-half trading update on 9 November will be the catalyst needed to lift shares above its resistance level.
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