Fashion retailer Ted Baker (TBK) has reported “good growth” in an unpredictable market after half-year profits improved 5.4 per cent to £7.4 million.
The chain, which has two outlets in Birmingham city centre, said the performance reflected careful international expansion and a strong result from its core retail division, particularly in womenswear.
However, it said it was “understandably cautious” about the second half and said trading in the last two weeks had been adversely affected by economic uncertainty and the unseasonably warm weather.
Investors reacted nervously to the announcement and shares closed down more than two per cent at 337p.
The retail arm saw sales growth up 17.5 per cent to £53.3 million in the six months to August 11, with the figure for UK stores ahead by 18.5 per cent to £48.1 million. That figure benefited from shop openings, including at Belfast, Cambridge and Heathrow Terminal 5.
The UK business traded from 29 stores, 92 concessions and ten outlet stores at the end of the period, but this has subsequently grown with openings at new shopping centres in Bristol and Liverpool. Two new stores are due to open in the White City development in London later this month.
Ted Baker said womenswear ranges did particularly well in the half year, growing sales by 12.6 per cent and representing 42.3 per cent of total sales, compared with 40.6 per cent a year earlier.
In the US, where the company has eight stores, trading was “satisfactory” amid the difficult trading conditions. The company has also expanded the Ted Baker brand across the Middle East and Asia through licence partners.
Wholesale revenues fell 12.1 per cent to £18.3 million, but the company said this was in line with expectations after it ditched some customers no longer seen as appropriate for the brand.
Looking across the business, founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin said the group had delivered “good growth for the period in an unpredictable market”.
The half-year profits were slightly stronger than expected by Panmure Gordon stockbrokers, where analyst Philip Dorgan said: “Ted Baker is a strong international brand and this, together with its multi-channel distribution strategy, combines to give it a chance of being one of the few UK retailers to grow profits over the next two years.”