Strong menswear sales lift Ted Baker

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The Independent Online

The fashion retailer Ted Baker yesterday reported it had seen no sign of slowing consumer spending as it reported solid sales over the festive period, while announcing it was looking at opening more stores in both the UK and the US this year.

Ted Baker said sales jumped 23.7 per cent in the period from 1 November to Christmas Eve and that it had traded well across its collections in the UK and overseas. Ray Kelvin, the chief executive, said the company's menswear range had performed particularly well over the period. "It's very difficult to single anything out but we had a strong season with menswear," he said.

The increase in sales, which beat analysts' expectations of a 20 per cent increase, sent shares in the retailer up nearly 4 per cent to close at 383.5p.

Mr Kelvin said he was "confident" of a "positive outcome" for the full year and that the company had traded strongly across the board on a geographic basis.

Ted Baker trades from about 25 stores and 45 concessions in department stores, including Selfridges in the UK. Overseas, it has three stores in the US and a shop in Paris.

"Our US stores continue to develop very strongly - we did particularly well in San Jose and New York," Mr Kelvin said.

The company also said that stock levels were "in line with expectations" and it would enter the new season with a clean stock position. City analysts were impressed by the trading update, with some upgrading their profit forecasts for the business this year. Analysts at Investec, the company's broker, upped their profit estimates by 4.5 per cent to £13.7m for the year to 31 January.

Mr Kelvin said Ted Baker was looking at opening another one or two shops in the US and the UK this year and shrugged aside fears of weaker consumer spending. "The strength of the brand is formidable and the products are tremendous. As long as we keep doing what we do well, I'm sure we'll be all right," he said.

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