Ted Baker has slumped to a loss as executives said heavy discounting across the high street, consumer uncertainty and a poorly received spring/summer collection all contributed to the fall.

Losses for the six months to August 11 came in at £23 million, compared with a £24.5 million pre-tax profit reported a year earlier - although part of the reason involved a major investment to overhaul its struggling Asian businesses.

The results sent shares plunging 29% in early trading on Thursday morning to 658p.

Sales also fell 0.7% to £303.8 million and bosses warned the company would continue to struggle in the second half of the year if market conditions do not improve - pointing out the warm weather in September is already having a negative impact.

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The fashion brand also suffered from the troubles of Debenhams and House of Fraser in the UK and Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's in the US - department stores where Ted Baker had a significant presence.

It took a hit of £600,000 from the collapse of House of Fraser alone.

Chairman David Bernstein said: "Trading conditions have been characterised by unprecedented and sustained levels of promotional activity across the sector with, in several cases, distressed discounting from brands and retailers and heightened competition.

"The group's performance has been impacted by very difficult trading conditions throughout the period, amplified by heightened levels of consumer uncertainty across many of Ted Baker's global markets.

"The financial results we delivered in the first half were behind our expectations. Trading in the second half has started slowly, not helped by the unseasonably warm weather in September, and this will have an impact on the full-year outcome. If these trends continue, we will achieve a second-half result below that of last year."

The Trump administration has announced that it will impose tariffs on $7.5 billion  (£6.1 billion) in European imports beginning on October 18 in a case involving European Union subsidies to the plane maker Airbus.

The latest escalation in the administration's tariffs will open a new chapter in the trade wars that are depressing the world economy and heightening fears of a global recession.

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It comes just as the Trump administration is in the midst of trying to negotiate a resolution to its high-stakes trade war with China.

The administration received a green light earlier on Wednesday from the World Trade Organisation, which ruled that the United States could impose the tariffs as retaliation for illegal aid that the 28-country EU gave to Airbus in its competition with its American rival Boeing.

Imperial Brands chief executive Alison Cooper has announced plans to stand down after nine years in the role and two decades with the tobacco giant.

Ms Cooper will leave once a successor has been appointed, the group said.

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It comes amid a wave of chief executive departures, with Tesco boss Dave Lewis revealing on Wednesday he will step down next summer on the same day that City heavyweight Martin Gilbert announced he will leave Standard Life Aberdeen and Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill said he would exit by the end of the year.

Imperial, which makes the vaping brand blu as well as cigarettes such as Davidoff and Winston, is also hunting for a new chairman to succeed Mark Williamson.