Ted to carry on global expansion

Fashion chain Ted Baker yesterday reported a slowdown in group sales growth as UK trading was hit by the bad weather in the run- up to Christmas.

The British designer brand reported a 7.6 per cent rise in group retail sales for the eight weeks to January 8, compared with 8.6 per cent in the third quarter to November 13.

Although the heavy snowfall affected UK trade, the company said it would meet profit expectations for the year, as sales since Christmas have been particularly strong across the group.

Chief executive and founder Ray Kelvin said that, while the economic outlook remained uncertain, the company would continue to expand the brand globally with store openings planned in Manchester, Paris and Hong Kong.

Ted Baker said UK trading started the festive season well, until snow crippled Britain. But the group was able to maintain profit margins as it held back from significant promotional or discount activity in run-up to Christmas.

It expects to end the season with no excess stock following strong post-Christmas sales and forecasts annual pre-tax profits in the range of 23.5m to 25.2m. Matthew McEachran, analyst at Singer Capital Markets, said Ted Baker was "an exciting emerging global brand".

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