Global Expansion Boosts Ted Baker

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LONDON -- Ted Baker (LSE: TED.L) posted solid first-half results this morning, with shares up more than 3.5% to 946.78 pence at the time of this writing.

The interim results reported a 53.3% boost in U.S. retail sales, coming in at $25.6 million, while U.K. and European sales were up 7.9% to 74.7 million pounds, and rest-of-the-world retail sales increased by 58.1% to 2.8 million pounds. Ted Baker saw a combined 15.4% increase in group revenue, up to 118.6 million pounds from H1 2011's 102.8 million pounds. 

The fashion house plans to continue its international expansion with new stores in London, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong, as well as first concessions in South Korea and the Netherlands.

Founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin, CBE, commented:

We have delivered good results in a challenging environment whilst making important investments for the long term development of the brand.

We are especially pleased with the positive reaction to our Autumn/Winter collections and I am delighted with the openings, since the period end, of our first store in China in Beijing and our first concessions in Germany, as we continue to build Ted's global presence.

As ever, our full year results will be dependent on trading in the important second half and we remain understandably cautious at this stage given the uncertainty in the global economy. However, we believe that we are well placed to deal with the challenges ahead.

The company is pushing forward with its expansion into international markets, and these figures show that Ted Baker has the capability to challenge bigger British brands, such as Burberry, on foreign soil. Its e-commerce sales are up 82.4% to 6.2 million pounds, with management obviously aware of the pull of online shopping, exemplified by rivals such as ASOS.

The company recently lifted its dividend by 10.5% to 7.9 pence. Ted Baker is clearly investing in itself with a view to more profits in the future; the question is: Should you do the same? The shares look a little pricey to me at the moment, but the fashion house has a strong reputation and continues to post solid results -- one to add to my watchlist and keep a close eye on, then...

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