Freddie George Comments: Ted Baker boosted by festive sales

January 8, 2015, The Courier

Fashion retailer Ted Baker has reported better-than-expected trading for the festive period after sales jumped by more than a fifth.

The firm, which has over 380 stores and concessions worldwide, said total revenues leapt 22.8% in the eight weeks to January 3 compared to a year ago. It did not provide a figure excluding new store openings.

The business said it was able to make these sales without resorting to the "significant promotional activity" that was a feature of the high street in the run up to Christmas. Shares in the group, which sells men’s suits and womenswear, lifted more than 3%.

Ted Baker’s results are in contrast to high street giant Marks & Spencer, which today reported like-for-like sales at its general merchandise division down by a bigger-than-expected 5.8% over Christmas.

It also set a benchmark for other fashion firms such as Burberry and ASOS ahead of their festive trading updates next week.

Ted Baker added that online sales were up 65.7%, reflecting continuing growth in the UK and a strong performance in the United States following an upgrade to the site last July.

The retailer said: "Performance across our established territories has remained strong and we continue to invest in our newer markets for the long-term opportunities of the Ted Baker brand."

During the period the firm opened a store in Heathrow Terminal 4, relocated its Birmingham shop to the Bullring shopping centre and licensed two new stores in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin said: "The group has delivered a great performance over the Christmas period across our global markets and distribution channels."

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Freddie George said the trading update was better than expected as he retained his 2015 pre-tax profit forecast of £47.5 million, up 22% on a year ago.

Edison Investment Research analyst Sohil Chotai added: "Ted’s quirky, differentiated offering gives it a unique offer that allows the company to discount less, create higher quality wwwucts and invest to grow the brand internationally – a strategy we think works for the long term."

Ted Baker was founded by Mr Kelvin as a shirt specialist in a single Glasgow store in 1988.