January 9, 2014 / 7:46 AM / in 4 years

Ted Baker sees FY profit in line after strong Christmas

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - British designer clothing brand Ted Baker said it would meet annual profit forecasts after posting an 18.3 percent rise in Christmas sales.

The group has enjoyed strong demand in the UK despite a squeeze on consumer spending, while sales overseas have also jumped following a big expansion across Europe, the United States and Asia.

The company on Thursday said retail sales rose 18.3 percent in the eight weeks to Jan. 4, helped in part by a 10.9 percent increase in new space.

It added that, unlike many under-pressure retailers during the festive period, it had not made any significant promotional activity before Christmas and that gross margins were in line with expectations.

Many British retailers decided to push discounts and promotions in the build-up to Christmas to boost sales, only for some such as Debenhams and Mothercare to be forced into warning on profit due to the impact on margins.

“The group has delivered a strong result over the Christmas period in a competitive trading environment, reflecting the strength of the brand and quality and design of our product,” Chief Executive Ray Kelvin said in a statement.

Ted Baker said it was on track to meet annual profit forecasts. The firm is on average expected to report a full-year pretax profit of 39.45 million pounds, according to a Reuters poll of nine analysts, up from 31.54 million a year ago.

Shares in the company, which have almost doubled from their level a year ago, closed at 2,300 pence on Wednesday, valuing the business at 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion).

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