In a pre-close trading update for the 12-week period to 29 January, Ted Baker hailed accelerating sales growth, with sequential improvement in the face of Omicron headwinds.

Group sales were up 35% compared to the fourth quarter of last year, and increased 18% on this year’s third quarter. Compared to fourth-quarter pre-pandemic levels, retail sales were running at -10% before Omicron warnings, falling to -42% during the Omicron surge.

Retail trading margin improved by over 200 basis points versus the same period last year and was and in line with the fourth quarter of FY2020 as the group prioritised its full price trading stance.

Ted Baker pointed to an encouraging response to new collections and said it will take key learnings from its autumn/winter 21 offerings into the spring/summer 22 lines.

Womenswear autumn/winter 21 collections were said to have performed well against the target product pyramid, with strong sales across bags, footwear and tops. Performance on menswear was more mixed, with sales over-indexing on core and continuity product, with a strong performance on footwear. 

We continue to make good progress with our transformation and despite the impact of Omicron on the quarter, were pleased to deliver group sales up 35% compared with last year. The strong improvement in trading margin is encouraging, along with the increase in full-price sales mix, demonstrating the progress we’re making as Ted re-establishes its premium brand positioning,” CEO Rachel Osborne said.

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“Our product is resonating with customers and we were particularly pleased with the performance of womenswear, with bags, footwear and tops all selling well, and a strong initial reaction to the spring/summer 2022 collection. Ted is emerging from Covid a stronger more sustainable business and we’re excited for the future.” 

Elsewhere, Ted Baker hailed continued progress on its environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) targets with its Fashioning a Better Future Programme. 

“We achieved a strong improvement in sustainable materials across all our collections for the year to 26%, up from 17% last year,” the group said. 

It also noted it is making good progress on recruiting for a new chair, with the search process well underway.

For the year ahead, Ted Baker reconfirmed its financial targets set as part of Transformation plan in spring 2020.