Ted Baker shares fall as misery extends in UK retail

Ted Baker shares fall as misery extends in UK retail

Fashion retailer Ted Baker has cautioned against a tough global environment ahead, sending its shares down more than 7% at one stage. 

The warning came despite a 12% rise in annual pre-tax profit on the back of higher online sales.

However, it may underscore the problems in UK retail with some major non-food retailers having sought protection from creditors over the past couple of months, such as Toys R Us and electricals chain Maplin.

Ted Baker, which operates 532 stores and concessions worldwide, said it expects capital expenditure of £30m (€34.5m) in the new financial year, down from £36.6m in the prior year.

“The recent unseasonal weather across Europe and the east coast of America has had an impact on the early part of trading for spring-summer,” the company said.

Ted Baker, unlike it peers, has been going slow on new store openings and has remodelled existing outlets to complement its online offering in the face of a decline in the overall British clothing market. 

Full-year online sales jumped almost 40% to £101.1m, accounting for 22.8% of retail sales.

The company, which trades from outlets, standalone showrooms, and concessions, said group pre-tax profit rose to £68.8m for the year ended January 27, from £61.3m a year earlier.

Retail sales in its UK and Europe business rose 7.7% to £301.1m. The company also raised its full-year dividend by 12.1% to 60.1p.

Overall, British retail sales jumped in February, although doubts remain about the underlying strength of consumer demand. 

Looking at the three months to February, which smooths out monthly volatility in the data, sales fell 0.4% which is the weakest growth by this measure in nearly a year after a big drop in sales in December.

There is a risk of a further downturn in March, when snowstorms brought widespread disruption.

The UK’s economy underperformed its rivals last year as higher inflation caused by the fall in the pound since June 2016’s Brexit vote hurt consumers’ spending power.

Earlier this week, official UK data showed overall wages rose at the fastest annual pace since mid-2015 in the three months to January.

Reuters

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