Ted Baker will not hold a full Sale in the UK before Christmas, founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin insisted today.
“Christmas is going to be tough and it’s all to play for, but we won’t be going on Sale,” said Kelvin, after the brand revealed retail gross margin increased during the first half, driven primarily by an improvement in full-price sell-through.
“No one wants to receive a Ted Baker gift bought in the Sale.”
However, Kelvin said the firm would do “some activity around Black Friday” in the UK and the US, where its sales are booming. This year, the discounting day will take place on 25 November.
Ted Baker achieved growth across all channels during the 28 weeks to 13 August. Group revenue rose 14.4% year on year to £259.5m, while pre-tax profits surged 20.5% to £21.5m.
Retail sales in the UK and Europe were up 8.5% to £131.2m, while in North America they soared by 28.7% to £51.1m.
Kelvin credited Ted Baker’s balanced portfolio, “robust model, different approach to design and strong brand” for allowing it to outperform the market.
“We often get compared with pure retailers, whereas we have a significant wholesale division and licensing business,” he said. Wholesale sales rose by 16.7% to £68.4m and licence income by 23.2% to £7.9m during the period.
He said there had been little impact on sales or consumer confidence from the vote in June to leave the European Union, although “the week after the referendum was pretty rough”.
“We are hedged until 2018 and we also have natural hedges from our dollar and euro income, so we are pretty well covered,” he added.
Ted Baker took its first delivery of inventory into its new 1m sq ft distribution centre in Derby this month. It will transition operations from its existing three centres to the new facility by next autumn.
“It is big, brand spanking new and fully automated,” said Kelvin. “A lot of the team are transferring from our London hub, so we will be even more efficient than we are now.”
Ecommerce sales grew by 29% to £29.7m.
The brand opened two stores in the US, one in Canada and one in China, and a new outlet in Canada during the six-month period.
It also opened new concessions with department stores across the UK, Europe and Asia, as well as licensee store openings in Azerbaijan, Egypt, Mexico, South Africa, Taiwan and Vietnam.