June 12, 2018 / 9:07 AM / 3 months ago

Online growth shores up Ted Baker sales, shares fall three percent

(Reuters) - British fashion retailer Ted Baker Plc reported subdued retail sales growth for the opening weeks of 2018 as it suffered from a long and harsh winter in Europe and North America, while its online business continued to soar.

Rain drips off a sign on a Ted Baker sign on a store in London, Britain October 06, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall - LR1EBA612FS1K

Shares in the company fell more than 3 percent after it posted revenue growth for the 19 weeks since the end of January of 4.2 percent - less than a third of the 14.2 percent expansion it reported at the same time last year.

Retail sales overall grew just 0.7 percent - propped up by a 34 percent rise in trading by its e-commerce wing.

Chief Operating Officer Lindsay Page told Reuters after the trading update that it was “right to be cautious” about the outlook, but that the company would meet expectations for the year.

A solid expansion into online and wholesale sales has helped make Ted Baker one of the brighter spots among crisis-hit British high street stores.

But physical store sales have been hit further this year by the snow and tough weather conditions across Europe and the United States that have kept customers away.

In addition to the online gains, the company reported a 14.2 percent rise in wholesale sales, which account for a quarter of all revenue.

Excluding the impact of currency market fluctuations at a time of high volatility in the British pound, overall revenue rose 7.5 percent for the period and wholesale sales by 18.9 percent.

“Despite an uncertain consumer outlook, we are well positioned to continue Ted Baker’s long-term development,” Chief Executive Ray Kelvin said.

“Our global e-commerce business continues to grow very strongly and is complemented by our unique stores and digital and social selling strategy.”

Margins in its retail and wholesale businesses were in line with expectations, the company added.

“The balance of TED’s performance is a testament to the strength of its model,” Liberum analysts said in a note adding that its mix of retail, wholesale and licensing allows the company to not over-rely on one channel.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

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