Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Ted Baker revamps web offer

Retailer Ted Baker is overhauling its web presence as it seeks international expansion

Fashion retailer Ted Baker is launching a multi-million pound revamp of its internet sales platform to build on an international expansion programme that has helped earnings soar by a quarter.

Profits before tax and exceptional costs were up 24.3% to £11.6 million for the 28 weeks to August 10, as revenues leapt 30.9% to £155.2 million.

Internet sales were up by half, to £9.4 million, and now the group wants to grow its web income internationally in countries where it already has retail outlets.

The platform, replacing the existing UK site, will have the capability for separate country and local language sites.

A stand-alone US website is expected to go live at the end of this year or early next year, followed by an Australian site next year while German and French language platforms could follow.

Expansion on the ground during the first half included two new stores and an outlet in Shanghai as well as further concessions with a leading department store in the US.

Licensed partners opened stores in Adelaide, Kuwait, Beirut, Jakarta and Dubai.

Results for the first half showed UK and European retail sales up 22.6% to £91.6 million and much stronger increases overseas including Asia, where they soared 78.6% to £5 million.

Ted Baker opened an accessories store at Gatwick airport and closed a shop in west London's trendy Kings Road.

Founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin said the business had entered six new markets in the last 12 months and the reaction had been encouraging.

"We remain focused on managing the pace of our growth and development of Ted Baker as a global brand," he said.

Ted Baker has 341 stores and concessions worldwide, including 178 in the UK, 60 in Europe, 58 in the US and Canada, 40 in the Middle East and Asia, and five in Australasia.

Chairman David Bernstein said there would be one-off costs in the second half of the year as the business closes stores "that are no longer appropriate for the brand" or relocates outlets.

Cantor analyst Freddie George said profits were at the lower end of expectations due to the higher than expected cost of overseas expansion.

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