January 10, 2018 / 7:28 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Ted Baker shares rise on strong online holiday sales

(Adds details on results, analyst, executive quotes)

By Rahul B

Jan 10 (Reuters) - British fashion retailer Ted Baker Plc on Wednesday reported higher sales in the key Christmas period, as online purchases surged, sending its shares to a near one-year high.

The company said it would deliver full-year results in line with its expectations even as sales remain challenging for 2018. Retailers have been hit by lower demand for clothing and inflation-squeezed consumer spending.

Ted Baker has close to 500 stores and concessions globally. It said retail sales for the eight weeks to Jan. 6 rose 9 percent.

Shares of the company rose as much as 7.8 percent to 3058 pence on Wednesday, the highest since January, 2017.

Ted Baker said e-commerce sales in the holiday period rose 35 percent and now make up about 30 percent of its total retail sales.

RBC analyst, in a client note, kept an “outperform” rating on the stock citing the company’s slow and steady revenue growth delivery, and relatively well protected operating margins.

The company, which opened its first store in Glasgow in 1988, sells suits, shirts and dresses - often sporting quirky details - helping it stand out from rivals.

British clothing retailers have so far put out a mixed bag of trading updates with clothing chain Next - the first major listed retailer to update on trading - reporting better-than-expected Christmas sales.

However, Debenhams - which sells furniture and electricals along with apparels for both men and women - slashed its annual profit forecast after cutting prices to drive sales.

With consumers being squeezed by slow wage growth and the jump in inflation that followed the 2016 Brexit vote, expectations for Christmas spending had been subdued.

However, Chief Operating Officer Lindsay Page told Reuters, “The company has not seen any downsizing of (shopping) basket size, it has been very consistent.” (Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Bernard Orr)

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