Wholesale trading still tough
Fashion retailer Ted Baker has posted a 9.2 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to£20 million for the 52 weeks to January 27, despite a 3.5 per cent drop in wholesale sales because of difficult market conditions.

Non-executive chairman Robert Breare said that trading for the first seven weeks of Ted Baker's spring/summer collection had been 'encouraging', with sales up 12.1 per cent on the same period last year.

Chief executive Ray Kelvin added that the rise in pre-tax profit on the back of revenue growth of 6.6 per cent to£125.6 million was thanks to a strong performance from the retail division, where sales increased 11.4 per cent to£89.2 million.

Kelvin also pointed to the opening of a store in southern California and six new licensed premises in Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong as evidence of a good year.

Further openings are planned in the UK this year at Gatwick North and Brighton, which will add 10,000 sq ft (930 sq m) of retail space to its portfolio.

Explaining the fall in wholesale performance, Breare said that the company had 'taken action' with regards to certain wholesale customers whose profiles were no longer appropriate for the Ted Baker brand. 'As a result, we expect wholesale sales to be slightly below the level achieved last year,' he said. The companies referred to were not named.

Ted Baker also revealed that it hoped to buy back 10 per cent of its shares in the next 12 months. However, in order to do this it will require confirmation from the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers that it will not require Kelvin to make a mandatory offer for the portion of the business he does not own.