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Ted Baker shares sink after warning of 'extremely difficult' start to year

Bengaluru

FASHION retailer Ted Baker sank deeper into trouble on Tuesday after it warned that underlying profit for the year would likely be at least £10 million (S$17.3 million) below analysts' estimates after an "extremely difficult" start to 2019.

Shares of the retailer, which fell 43 per cent last year and another 14 per cent before Tuesday's opening, were down by a quarter in the first few minutes of trading after it blamed promotions and unseasonable weather in North America, which accounts for a third of its revenue.

A familiar name on Britain's high street, the company appointed long-time finance chief Lindsay Page on a permanent basis in April as it sought to move on from misconduct allegations against its founder and largest shareholder Ray Kelvin.

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In March it reported its first drop in annual profit since 2008 as traditional brick-and-mortar apparel chains suffered in the face of online competitors and British consumers reined in spending.

Tuesday's trading update said the company, which has 560 stores and concessions globally, was focused on reining in costs and coming up with new products to turn the company around.

"The performance reflects difficult and unpredictable trading conditions, unseasonable weather experienced across North America ... and the highly promotional retail environment across our global markets," the company said.

As a result, gross margins in both its wholesale and retail businesses lagged compared with last year, it added.

It expected underlying profit before tax for the year to January 2020 of £50 million to £60 million, compared with a company compiled consensus of £70.9 million and last year's £63 million. REUTERS