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UPDATE 2-Ted Baker targets Asian, U.S. openings
* Full-year retail sales up 14 percent
* Profit before tax/exceptional items up 12 pct
* Total dividend 23.4 pence, up 14 pct
* Shares down 2.2 percent
By Clare Kane
LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) - British designer clothing brand Ted Baker said it was to expand in Asia and North America to tap fast-growing demand, as it reported a 14 percent rise in full-year retail sales.
"When you are new into a market, and you are winning business, you are less affected by the macroeconomic backdrop," finance director Lindsay Page told Reuters on Wednesday, referring to Spain, where unemployment stands at 23 percent.
Ted Baker saw U.S. retail sales jump 63 percent to 21.8 million pounds ($35 million) in the 52 weeks to Jan. 28 and plans to open a new store on Fifth Avenue, New York in July and around 20 further concessions around the country.
It opened a store in Tokyo last week and plans openings in China and South Korea later this year, and further concessions in Ireland and Spain, key European markets alongside France.
Ted Baker, which started as a menswear brand in Glasgow in 1987, said sales in its home market and the rest of Europe rose 8.7 percent to 149 million pounds in the 52 weeks to Jan. 28.
"Interestingly, the best selling styles for us tend to be pretty consistent across the world," Page said, adding Ted Baker's home market remained remarkably resilient.
The brand escaped the worst of the economic downturn that has hit British retailers hard as consumers rein in spending because of rising prices, muted wages growth and government austerity measures.
"What they have historically talked about is double the quality compared to some of the higher end brands at half the price. They have put even further effort into design and price compared to before," Singer Capital Markets analyst Matthew McEachran said.
"There is probably a growing customer base coming from the luxury end as their collections broaden out and as awareness increases amongst that customer group," he said, upgrading the company's shares to a 'Buy' and raising his target price to 920 pence from 765 pence.
Ted Baker said full-year pretax profit rose 0.1 percent to 24.3 million pounds, compared with a forecast for 26.6 million provided by the company.
Profit before tax and exceptional costs rose 12 percent to 27.1 million pounds. The company said exceptional costs included rent for stores that had not yet started trading and a provision for bad and doubtful debts in Greece.
The total dividend was raised 14 percent to 23.4 pence.
Ted Baker shares were down 2.2 percent at 770.5 pence at 1050 GMT. They had risen 21 percent since the beginning of the year to close at 787.5 pence on Tuesday.
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