* Third quarter group sales up 24.4 pct to 77.1 mln stg
* Expansion to slow in 2014, sees better 2015 prospects
* Shares rise 4.8 pct after almost doubling this year
By Neil Maidment
LONDON, Nov 14 Designer clothing brand Ted Baker
said it would open fewer new stores in 2014 after a big
expansion push across Europe, the United States and Asia that
has helped sales surge, and would wait for better opportunities
the following year.
Sales jumped 31 percent in the first half of the year and
rose by 24.4 percent in its third quarter, the firm said on
Thursday, as strong trading in its core UK market was boosted by
international openings and an improving wholesale market.
Shares in the company, known for classic cuts with quirky
details, rose 4.8 percent to 1,874 pence at 1131 GMT, having
started the day up 85 percent on a year ago.
"There'll be a pause for breath," Finance Director Lindsay
Page told Reuters. "The long-term trend rate is 10-12 percent
space growth per annum, I think we'll be a little bit shy of
that, high single digits probably next year."
In the last 18 months, the firm has opened flagship stores
in the U.S., China and Japan and concessions in several markets
including in Germany, Spain and South Korea.
Page said it would ease off slightly to allow new sites and
its brand to get established, and that it saw better expansion
prospects in preferred markets for 2015 than in 2014.
The firm said next year's openings, a mixture of stores and
concessions, would predominantly focus on the U.S., Canada and
Hong Kong, with less activity in Europe.
It will also have no new openings in China during the next
year, having added its first concession to the handful of stores
it owns there in the third quarter.
"We've got an initial footprint down to start really
exploring the (Chinese) market potential but we won't be pushing
ahead on that for some time I would think," Page said.
The company said on Thursday group revenue for the 13 weeks
to Nov. 9 had jumped 24.4 percent to 77.1 million pounds ($123
million), and that it had seen a good reaction across all of its
markets to its Autumn/Winter collections.
Retail sales, which make over 80 percent of group revenue,
rose 19.8 percent to 58.1 million pounds on 11.4 percent more
space, as the firm continued to attract British shoppers despite
pressure on consumer spending and win fans overseas.
Wholesale sales rose 40.8 percent to 19 million pounds,
driven by improved trading in Britain and the U.S. and the firm
said full-year sales would be 25 percent ahead of a year ago.
The group, which has more than 340 stores and concessions
worldwide, launched a new UK website in the quarter and plans
local country sites in Australia and New Zealand in 2014.
"Ted remains a core holding for small cap investors given
bright future growth prospects and high quality earnings,"
analysts at N+1 Singer said.