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Ted Baker sees improvement in wholesale

Premium brand Ted Baker is understood to be considering resupplying some of its wholesale stockists after it saw evidence that the wholesale market was turning the corner.

Matthew McEachran, analyst at Singer Capital Markets, issued a note this week claiming Ted Baker had seen signs that some of its wholesale customers were “turning the corner” after a meeting he had with the brand’s management team.

The note said: “Having been proactive in managing exposure to its trustees before the downturn, there are signs that some of these trustees are now turning the corner. It is possible that they [Ted Baker] may recommence supplying former trustees which could part-reverse some of the negative trends in sales through that channel [wholesale].”

In line with the market, Ted Baker has experienced declining wholesale sales. They fell 15.7% for the 19 weeks to June 12. The company blamed the fall partly on tougher trading conditions for its stockists but some of the fall was also attributed to the brand’s ongoing strategy to clean up distribution with the closure of “unsuitable” accounts.

A potential improvement in wholesale sales at Ted Baker would be a marked contrast to that of other fashion brands but would bring a glimmer of hope to the branded fashion market, which has been hit by the administrations of casualwear brand Canterbury Europe and sportswear brand Diadora’s UK arm this week.

In addition, this week denim brand Levi’s said its sales in Europe had fallen 17% to US21 million (£135m), pushing it to a loss of US$4.1 million (£2.4m) in the second quarter to May 31. It blamed weaker wholesale sales for the fall. Designer brand Burberry also said it expected its wholesale sales for the six months to September 30 to be down by about 25%.

Other market sources urged caution, insisting that independent retailers were behaving “sensibly” and had so far been “careful” with their spring 10 buying budgets while they waited to see if the recession had bottomed out.

French Connection, Ted Baker’s nearest rival, is not thought to have experienced an upturn in wholesale sales as yet.

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