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Ted Baker sales soar ahead of expectations

Premium brand and retailer Ted Baker has posted a 15.2% rise in group revenue in the 19 weeks to June 11 driven by strong wholesale sales and beating analysts’ expectations.

Wholesale sales jumped 42.1% over the period attributed predominantly to the beneficial phasing of sales, but also thanks to a strong performance from its UK business and the continued growth of its US wholesale business. It forecasted that whoelsale sales for the business over the full year would be 10% up on last year.

Retail sales rose by 9.4% compared to the same period last year despite a “subdued” start to the financial year. Average retail square footage rose by 4.4% to 232,157 sq ft from 222,339 sq ft.  It has opened stores in Manchester, Paris and Hong Kong since January as well as concessions in department stores across the US, Spain and Portugal.

Underlying input margins have been maintained, said the business, with wholesale gross margin in line with last year. Retail gross margin was slightly below last year due to the mix of product sales and a higher level of promotional activity in all markets, largely driven by its department store concessions rather than its own stores.

The group said its performance was “in line” with the board’s expectations and reflected investment in the Ted Baker brand, both in the UK and internationally.

Ray Kelvin, Ted Baker founder and chief executive, added: “The group has made a good start to 2011. Our collections have been well received across our international markets as we continue to expand the brand into new territories.

“Looking forward into the second half of the year we plan to open new stores in the UK, New Zealand, China and America, whilst maintaining our focus on design, quality and attention to detail which underpin the core strengths of the Ted Baker brand.”

Andrew Wade, broker at Numis Securities, said the group was showing “clear improvement” after a slow start to the year. He added that implied retail like-for-likes were up by 5% against tough comparables, ahead of expectations. Wade has slightly increased its full year profit before tax forecast from £26.5m to 26.9m.

“Although April was, unsurprisingly, the high point of the quarter, Ted Baker has not seen sales slip dramatically in the later parts of May as we have been hearing from some on the High Street, “Wade said.

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