Markets News

UPDATE 2-Superdry's 30% sales fall sends shares lower

* Posts fiscal 2020 underlying loss of 41.8 mln stg

* Q2 sales to date drop 30.3% vs 24.1% in all of Q1

* Shares fall as much as 14%

* Online sales strong, with 55.3% growth to Sept. 12 (Rewrites, adds new CEO comment, shares)

Sept 21 (Reuters) - Superdry on Monday reported a 30.3% fall in sales for the seven weeks to Sept. 12, sending prices in the British fashion retailer sharply lower after peers performed better.

The company’s shares, listed on London’s small-cap index , fell by as much as 14.4% to 130 pence after it also reported a loss for the year ended April 25, following store closures linked to pandemic lockdowns.

Superdry, which sells sweatshirts, hoodies and jackets featuring Japanese text, said demand was gradually returning.

Many customers are shopping online, where sales for the 20 weeks to Sept. 12 jumped 55.3%, but failed to make up for double-digit falls in wholesale and retail sales.

Superdry’s underlying pretax loss for fiscal 2020 was 41.8 million pounds ($54.1 million).

The company, whose shares have lost about 73% in value this year, has embarked on a turnaround under co-founder and Chief Executive Julian Dunkerton, who took back control here last year. It has focused on shoring-up cash, improving its range and its marketing strategy.

The second quarter sales drop reported on Monday is for the seven weeks to Sept. 12. It is lower than the full first quarter, when sales fell 24.1%.

Last week, bigger rival Next raised its profit forecast for the second time in two months, following a positive trend set by H&M and Zara-owner Inditex.

“We are fully aware that we want to become one of the new breed of retailers in the online space,” Dunkerton told Reuters.

He said the company was doing all it could to adapt but voiced concern about rising cases of the novel coronavirus.

“The government really needs to ... do something about the (infection) rate situation if the they want the British high street to recover,” Dunkerton said.

Dunkerton, who has opposed here Britain's departure from the European union, said Superdry had established European warehousing that would cushion it against any changing tariffs following the end of Britain's transition period at the end of this year.

$1 = 0.7728 pounds Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and James Davey in London; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Barbara Lewis