This has been another year of progress for SuperGroup Plc. Revenues have grown by almost 20% and underlying profit before tax by nearly 19%.
The scale of the Group has continued to increase with further new store openings, and a significant programme of infrastructure developments has been delivered aimed at supporting future growth and efficiencies. Although like-for-like sales growth in the final quarter fell short of expectations, the financial performance for the year as a whole was broadly in line with market expectations and produced largely positive movements on the Group's key performance indicators.
In last year's Annual Report I commented that FY14 would see the Group enhance its capacity for future growth and enable efficiencies within its existing operations through substantial investments in its IT and logistics infrastructure. I am pleased to report that the planned projects were delivered on time and on budget. Whilst there are still more improvements to make, these initial investments have delivered a solid platform for the Group's growth aspirations, improved its processes and controls, and will provide cost savings and efficiency gains from financial year 2015 onwards.
International growth opportunities will provide the major sources of expansion for the Group. Of the new owned retail space opened in the last year 43% was outside the UK. The buy out of the distributor in Spain and the German agency and franchise business, together with the opening of 59 new franchise stores and the roll-out of two new websites demonstrate the potential for further international growth.
Whilst the growth opportunities are wide ranging, the challenges for SuperGroup are to ensure that the attractiveness of the Superdry brand for its customers is maintained and that high quality execution is sustained as the business expands and develops. Continual improvement and innovation in its product ranges is crucial in ensuring that the Company delivers the expected returns to shareholders. The Board closely monitors performance in these areas and is seeking to ensure the development of the organisation and infrastructure keeps pace with the growth ambitions of the business.
The Corporate Responsibility section of the Annual Report illustrates the steps taken through the year to ensure that the Group operates responsibly and in the interests of its stakeholders. SuperGroup is making good progress in the key areas of employee welfare, workforce in the supply chain, environmental sustainability, and supporting the communities that it interacts with. There is more to do in developing SuperGroup's agenda to operate responsibly, but the foundations are now in place to deliver through the team established during the last 12 months.
On behalf of the Board I would like to thank everyone at SuperGroup for what has been achieved over the last year and wish them well for the year ahead.
Peter BamfordChairman 9 July 2014