Ted Baker takes festive honours with big rise in sales

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DESIGNER brand Ted Baker reported a sharp rise in sales over the Christmas period, putting it firmly in the festive winners’ camp.

The fashion house, which has stores in Leeds, York, Sheffield and Hull, said the strong sales mean it will meet forecasts for annual profits.

The company’s strong sales in the run-up to Christmas were achieved without having to slash prices, unlike many of its high street rivals.

Many high street retailers were forced to sacrifice margins last month and bring forward end-of-year sales in a bid to draw in cash-strapped consumers.

Ted Baker, which has concessions in a number of House of Fraser stores including Leeds, Huddersfield and Sheffield, said retail sales for the eight weeks to January 7 rose by 15.7 per cent, driven by a 7.3 per cent rise in new space.

This implies like-for-like sales of 8.4 per cent, placing Ted Baker at the top end of Christmas retail performers.

The fashion label said that sales since Christmas have been strong and it expects to end the season with a clean stock position, while pre-tax profits for the full year are expected to be in line with expectations.

The company increased its average retail square space over the period by 7.3 per cent to 240,001 sq ft.

Ray Kelvin, founder and chief executive, said: “In a challenging trading environment, this performance is a testament to the strength of the Ted Baker brand, our collections and people.”

The company will open a store on Fifth Avenue, in New York towards the middle of 2012, as well as its first stores in Tokyo in March and Beijing in June.

Ted Baker warned earlier in the year that its autumn sales had been affected by the unseasonably warm weather.

The group reported a 13 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £8.5m in the six months to August 13 and will report on its full year results in March.

Ted Baker’s shares were up by more than 4.5 per cent last night to close the day up 32p at 732p.

Matthew McEachran, retail sector analyst at Singer Capital, said: “Having seen evidence of a strong final surge from other recent updates, we were hopeful of good numbers from Ted Baker given the strength of its collections and increasing brand appeal. This statement did not disappoint.”

He added: “The pipeline of new openings is exciting and the brand is clearly developing ahead of steam, especially in overseas markets.”

Ted Baker has 24 stores in the rest of Europe, 15 US stores and 23 stores in the Middle East, Asia and Australia.