Superdry is facing both job losses and a battle between its board and co-founder of the company Julian Dunkerton. Both issues have arisen in the wake of a dismal year for the company which saw share prices drop by almost 70% and a huge decline in sales reported the Financial Times. Both founders of the company blame the direction of the company as the reason for the decline and are attempting to gain control of the board once more.

The board released a statement in which it said the return of Mr Dunkerton would be a huge blow to the company. This issue should be settled on April 2nd when a meeting of the companies shareholders convenes.

Decline in Superdry

Superdry shares have collapsed from a peak of 1715p a year ago to 550p this week. In an effort to cut costs the company announced 200 job cuts from its HQ in Cheltenham revealed the Standard.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “As announced at our interim results in December, we have embarked on a cost transformation programme. As part of that, we have started a process of consultation with colleagues about how it will impact our central head office functions.”

The board announced plans to cut costs by £50 million by 2022 also revealed the Standard. Having announced a number of sales warnings last year and with December forecasts way below target the company has made efforts to shore up the decline of the brand.

There have also been some rumours that the company will look at its store portfolio. This may result in the closures or amalgamation of stores.

These are just some of the reasons for Mr Dunkertons moves and announcements in the past couple of weeks.

Plans for the future

Along with the announcement of job cuts the board also made plans for the future of the brand and the style of clothing they will stock.

There have been efforts to reduce the companies reliance on jackets and heavily branded goods, something which made the company a success. The board is hoping to stock more children wear and outdoor sports leisure wear.

Plans by Mr Dunkerton

Mr Dunkerton co-founded the company in 2004 with James Holder and they still control 18% and 11% respectively.

In recent months and due to Superdry performance and announcements Mr Dunkerton has voiced his disapproval of the direction the company has taken. He has made efforts to return to the board and halt some of the changes announced recently.

Mr Dunkerton plans involve installing Peter Williams as a non-executive director noted the Chronicle. Mr Williams is currently chairman of online fashion brand BooHoo.

Dunkerton and Holder also plan to return to designing clothes for the brand. They have voiced their disapproval of the introduction of childrenswear and the use of the brand logo on clothing.

It is here that most of the problems have arisen as the board feels Dunkerton and Holders designs and business strategies are too outdated.

Bust up with the board

Following Dunkerton stepping down from the board last march, there has been constant bickering between both sides as who is the blame for the companies poor performance in 2018.

The board believes Mr Dunkerton hasn’t been honest with shareholders as they state his most recent position was that of creative director. This would have put him in the prime position for the brands stock and designs for 2018 making him one of the most responsible for sales figures in 2018.

Superdry said of Dunkertons position- “prime executive responsibility for the design direction, range selection and range build of the autumn/winter 2018 range, which contributed to the company’s underperformance” as noted in the Guardian.

Meanwhile, Dunkerton has been critical of the lead taken by Euan Sutherland. He attacked the lack of innovation in the comapnies clothing ranges and management.

The chain’s strategy of cutting the number of lines it sells has been criticised by Dunkerton. Superdry, in turn, said it has been too reliant in the past on the hoodies and jackets that were Dunkerton’s staple designs.

In the wake of these issues and the others written about in this article Dunkerton has urged shareholders to vote him back into a position of power along with Mr Williams.

However, Superdry has stated Dunkerton has not been clear about his position in the company. They say he was “nominated as a non-executive director – requiring approval from more than 50% of investors – even though he had confirmed to the board that he wanted an executive role responsible for product, brand and marketing, which would require approval from at least 75% of shareholders” recorded the Guardian.

However this plays out shall be interesting to see in the coming weeks. Will a return be possible and if so what can be changed to help Superdrys performance,