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Ted Baker eyes South America as international sales soar

Ted Baker is planning to open further stores in South America following the launch of its first store on the continent last month.

The business, which opened a franchise shop in Panama in the Multiplaza Pacific Mall in September, is looking to build on its success in the US.

“The US is flying,” Ted Baker chief executive Ray Kelvin told Drapers. “South America is a very big opportunity for us. We see the first store as our way in, and we’re concentrating on that market [over the next 12 months].”

Kelvin declined to name his franchise partner or say how many stores he would like to open in South America.  

Sales in the US and Canada increased by 13.8% to £28.9m in the 28 weeks to August 9. Ted Baker currently has 17 stores in the US and one in Toronto, Canada.

The business also relaunched its US website during the half, which Kelvin said was “beating all expectations”. Ted Baker is also planning to launch an Australian website before the end of 2014.

Online sales increased by 48.9% to £14m in the half and now account for 10% of total sales. Kelvin said he would like online sales to go “as high as possible without cannibalising store sales”.

Kelvin said the business had not been affected by the Indian summer, unlike retailers such as Next, which may lower its profit guidance as a result of slowing sales. “The product is great; everything with a Ted Baker label seems to be selling well”, Kelvin said.

Profits before tax and exceptional items at Ted Baker increased by 24% to £14.4m for the first half, while total sales were up by 17.4% to £182.2m over the same period. Retail sales including online rose by 14.8% to £140m and wholesale sales increased by 26.8% to £42.1m.

The retailer’s T for Tall range for men between 6ft 3in and 6ft 6in launched online last month. Kelvin said the reaction to the range was very positive. “It’s going very well. Mark Foster [British swimmer] is a great ambassador and friend of mine. There’s potential to do a lot of new products across the Ted Baker brand.”

Ted Baker’s former head of ecommerce Eve Henrikson - who, as Drapers reported this week, has left to join Tesco - has been replaced by Suzanne Egleton.

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