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(Reuters) - Upmarket fashion retailer Ted Baker's sales surged during the second quarter as customers returned to shops after months of coronavirus restrictions in search of new clothes for socialising again.
Ted Baker, which has 560 stores and concessions, pointed to a rebound in North American and UK shopping malls as consumer confidence picked up, helping retail sales - comprising in-store and online sales - jump 30% during the period. Online sales alone, however, dropped by 25% as consumers headed back to stores.
Overall sales, including wholesale and licensing as well, were up 50% from a year earlier when stay-at-home orders hammered demand for formal wear, forcing Ted Baker to cut hundreds of jobs and raise money to weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Retail sales during the second quarter, however, were still a third lower compared to pre-pandemic levels, the company said.
Ted Baker's shares, which surged more than 8% on Monday in anticipation of Tuesday's update, were flat in early trading on the London bourse. With a year-to-date rise of 45%, they look to end 2021 with an annual gain after five straight years of losses.
Aside from the pandemic, Ted Baker has been working on regaining investor trust under fresh management after former boss Ray Kelvin left in 2019 following misconduct allegations. He has denied the allegations and still owns nearly 12% of the company he founded in 1988 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Ted Baker is now valued at 319 million pounds ($441.56 million) compared to 1.3 billion pounds in 2015.
Current CEO Rachel Osborne, a former Debenhams executive, has been overseeing a three-year turnaround plan focussed on cutting costs, revamping the company's product range, and increasing its digital presence.
"We have made encouraging progress, with trading over the second quarter in line with expectations, albeit the speed of recovery is different across store locations and regions," Osborne said in the company's statement.
Ted Baker said certain technical aspects have taken longer than expected to resolve, adding its new eCommerce platform will now go live early next year given the current proximity to the key Christmas and end of year holiday season.
($1 = 0.7224 pounds)
(Reporting by Chris Peters and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Susan Fenton)