* Retail sales up 20.9 pct in 8 weeks to Jan. 5
* Average retail square footage up 13.9 pct
* Board sees FY pretax profit in line with expectations
* Names David Bernstein as new chairman
LONDON, Jan 9 British designer clothing brand
Ted Baker said it would meet forecasts for annual profit
after a big jump in Christmas sales placed it among the year's
The high-end High Street designer, known for its classic
cuts with quirky details, said on Wednesday its retail sales
rose 20.9 percent in the eight weeks to Jan. 5, driven in part
by a 13.9 percent increase in new space.
As in previous years it said there was no significant
promotional activity before Christmas and that gross margins
were in line with expectations.
Many European retailers have struggled as inflation, muted
wages growth and government austerity measures squeeze household
budgets, but Ted Baker has notched up solid growth by tapping
fast-growing demand in the U.S. and Asia, and at home despite
tough high street conditions.
The firm added that Robert Breare had stepped down as
non-executive chairman after more than 11 years in the role and
would be replaced immediately by current senior independent
non-executive director David Bernstein.
Ted Baker is on average expected to report a full-year
pretax profit of 31.50 million pounds ($50.52 million) according
to a Reuters poll of 7 analysts. It delivered an adjusted pretax
profit of 27.1 million pounds for 2011/12.
Shares in the FTSE 250 listed firm closed at 1162 pence on
Tuesday, up 78 percent on a year ago, valuing the business at
around 500 million pounds.
For a FACTBOX-How UK retailers fared over Christmas, please
click on: ($1 = 0.6235 British pounds)