FASHION retailer Ted Baker today posted an 18% slide in profits but said UK sales exceeded expectations while womenswear took on a greater importance in its growing retail business.
The firm said retail sales increased 15% in the 28 weeks to August 15, propped up by a stronger than anticipated UK performance. Group pre-tax profits fell to £6 million from £7.4 million last year.
Sales of menswear, which represents just over half of the business, fell 1.5% to £39.7 million.
Meanwhile womenswear accounted for a greater share of the firm - 48% compared to 44% a year earlier - as sales grew 18% to £36.9 million. Ted Baker said the increase in turnover was down to better performance after the transfer of wholesale accounts to concessions.
It said the trends of the first six months of the year had continued in recent trading, with positive initial reactions to its Autumn/Winter collections and its new "highly designed" men’s casualwear collection Born by Ted Baker.
In the UK and Europe sales were up nearly 17% to £56.1 million, with the UK compensating for challenging conditions elsewhere.
Last month the firm opened a store in Heathrow Terminal 1 and Ted Baker said this was performing well.
The rise in overall retail revenues was given a boost by a 16% rise in space - implying a slight drop in same-store sales.
Costs increased 10% as the firm upped its retail space. In the UK and Europe it operates 32 stores, 122 concessions and 10 outlets stores.
Wholesale revenues fell 16% to £15.3 million and the firm said it expected this trend to continue into the second half of the year. The firm is in the process of shifting its weight from its troubled wholesale arm and transferring some of these accounts to retail concessions.
The firm’s US business continued to struggle, with sales down 24% in dollar terms and 2% in sterling.
Ray Kelvin, the company’s founder and chief executive, said: "The group’s performance in the first half of the year has been better than expected given the difficult trading environment.
"This trend has continued into the second half and whilst we remain cautious, given the uncertain economic outlook, the initial reactions to our Autumn/Winter collections have been encouraging."