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Idris Elba joins Supergroup

The troubled fashion retailer Supergroup has turned to the British actor Idris Elba to help it crack America – as its new chief executive revealed plans to pay a dividend next year.

Elba, who starred in The Wire, will work with the parent of the Superdry brand to produce a premium clothing line, which is expected to appeal to customers across the globe.

“Idris drives us into a more premium market. He is a huge name in the US, but is very British, very grounded and very cool,” Euan Sutherland, the chief executive, said.

Kate Calvert, an analyst at Investec, said the partnership “is a coup” and confirms its belief that brand appeal is wider than its targeted 15 to 25-year-old market.

The company has bought the exclusive rights to distribute the Superdry brand and 15 shop leases for £22.3m in North America, after ending a 30-year licence deal with its partner SDUSA.

The acquired business made an operating loss of £5.1m in 2014, but under its control, Supergroup plans to return the operation to profitability by the end of 2017. Plans for European expansion are also under way.

The update by Mr Sutherland is part of a new strategy to put a series of corporate blunders behind it, including the ousting last month of its finance director, Shaun Wills, after he was declared bankrupt. Susanne Given, its chief operating officer, also left the company last month just three years after being hired to put it back on a stable footing.

The departure came just months after Mr Sutherland was brought in. It expects to make £60m to £65m in profits this year.

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