Ted Baker shares hit all-time high as sales surge

Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:39am EDT

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LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Designer clothing brand Ted Baker said strong demand in Britain and North America had helped first quarter group sales shoot up by a third, sending its shares to an all-time high.

The high-end high street designer, known for its classic cuts with quirky details, has been accelerating its expansion overseas with particular focus on the United States and Asian markets, opening flagship stores and concessions which have taken its number to over 300 globally.

The firm said on Thursday group revenue for the 20 week period from Jan 27 to June 15 had risen 32.7 percent year on year, well ahead of expectations, prompting analysts to nudge up full-year pretax profit forecasts by around 3 percent.

Shares in the group, which according to Reuters consensus data had been expected to post an annual profit of 37 million pounds before Thursday's announcement, were up 13 percent to an all-time high of 1660 pence at 0838 GMT.

The revenue jump was driven by 30.7 percent rise in retail sales, benefiting from 13.4 percent new space. The firm said demand had been good across all of its territories, with its core UK business "doing very well" after a strong 2012. Wholesale sales were also up 41 percent year on year.

The first half of the year accounts for around 30 percent of Ted Baker's annual profit.

The group opened its first concession in France in the period, and added more in Spain and the Netherlands. In Asia it opened a store and outlet in Shanghai and a concession in Tokyo. It plans to open 8 or 9 new concessions in the U.S. this year.

"With gross margins flat on last year, as expected, this performance is testament to the investment in the brand and infrastructure that Ted has been making," Espirito analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi said in a note.

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