Superdry appoints new creative director, but could founder return?

Global fashion retailer Superdry, which has its headquarters in Cheltenham, has announced the appointment of Phil Dickinson, the former Nike executive, as Creative Director.

Phil will be in charge of product design and will also input into driving the wider creative direction of the brand, said the company.

He has experience of brand, product, design, retail and ecommerce, built through a 28-year career which has included a number of senior roles with Nike. His achievements at Nike included spearheading the brand’s 2007 push into football, before being promoted to head the whole sportswear category in 2010. He then led the successful turnaround of the Umbro brand.

The news follows a report in The Sunday Times on 20 January that the brand’s founder, Julian Dunkerton, wants to call a shareholder meeting to vote on his reinstatement at a senior level. Julian, and his co-founder, James Holder, hold 28% of the company. Julian has been highly critical of the company since it reported a difficult first half interim results for the 26 weeks ended 27 October 2018.

  Global brand revenue up 6.4% to £831.8m (1H18: £781.6m)

  Group revenue up 3.1% to £414.6m (1H18: £402.0m)

  Underlying profit before income tax down 49.0% to £12.9m (1H18: £25.3m),

Explaining the disappointing results at the time, Euan Sutherland, Superdry Chief Executive Officer, said: “Superdry had a difficult first half, impacted by unseasonably warm weather across our major markets, a consumer economy that is increasingly discount driven and the issues we are addressing in product mix and range.”

Phil Dickinson has been running his own design agency since 2013, with clients including Adidas, Diadora, Rapha, Richard James Saville Row, SoHo House and Woolmark. He is a visiting lecturer at the University Santiago de Compostella.

Phil is a graduate of Central Saint Martin’s, London where he focused on womenswear. He will take up his new post with effect from 22 January 2019.

Euan Sutherland, Superdry Chief Executive Officer, said: “Phil is one of the best creatives working in our industry and we are delighted that he is joining Superdry. Last summer we kick started an 18-month product diversification and innovation programme and Phil will bring extra pace, focus and energy to that work. I am really looking forward to working with him as we continue to deliver our Global Digital Brand strategy.”

Phil Dickinson said: “Superdry is a great brand with a fantastic heritage. I am excited to be joining the business at a time when we are accelerating innovation and working to revitalise all our product. There is a wealth of opportunity ahead and I look forward to working as part of a team committed to creating great product for consumers around the world.”