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Online uplift helps Ted Baker buck high street downturn

29 January 2018 - 11:16 by Sarah Collinson

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While many retailers have struggled over the past year as a result of flagging high street sales, fashion outlet Ted Baker has managed to overcome difficult conditions and enjoy strong growth, thanks to its focus on shopping online.

Rising rents have put companies with a major bricks and mortar presence on the back foot, but since Ted Baker has kept its real world retail footprint small and, instead, embraced e-commerce expansion it has been insulated against instability, according to the Telegraph.

Sales were up by nine per cent in the final two months of 2017, with e-commerce activity alone increasing by 35 per cent during this period.

Company spokesperson, Ray Kelvin, said that the rise of safe shopping online was causing huge changes in retail habits and adapting to this new state of play was essential for long term success.

He also took care to distinguish Ted Baker from other fashion outlets, since it sells only its own-brand products and has just 75 stores globally, of which under half are on British soil.

Some retailers have attempted to improve their position in the marketplace in recent years by opening in vast numbers of new locations, but this strategy has proved untenable as visitor numbers have dipped. Many customers now prefer to shop online, so this shift has not hurt Ted Baker as much and its e-commerce sales growth attests to its success in the digital realm.

Improvements to its website have also helped to build and sustain its online audience, although Kelvin argued that it was important to be careful when investing in this arena, as over-committing resources could lead to problems if growth falters. This cautious approach has served the firm well and could be a model that others will seek to replicate.