Ted Baker looks set to close its doors

Posted on Mar 21, 2024. by NTI

Fashion group, Ted Baker, founded by Ray Kelvin, first opened its doors to customers in 1988 when it opened a store in Glasgow. Doors at Ted Baker stores look likely to begin closing following a notice of intention to appoint administrators being filed at court on 20th March 2024.

Within 10 years of being founded Ted Baker had opened stores in Soho, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, and New York. In 1997 Ted Baker became Ted Baker Plc trading as No ordinary designer Ltd (NODL) and a year later www.tedbaker.co.uk went live. My favourite Ted Baker Suit “The Endurance” launched in 1999.  Ted Baker continued to expand its range by introducing footwear, eyewear, fragrances, a home range and luxury collections. By 2012 it had opened stores in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Toronto. It celebrated 25 years by opening additional stores in Abu Dhabi and Adelaide.  In 2022 Ted Baker celebrated its 30th year.  Things were looking bright. So, went wrong?

Founder, Ray Kelvin, resigned in 2019 after allegations of misconduct including “forced hugging” claims. The claims were made by employees who launched an online petition accusing Mr. Kelvin of inappropriate behaviour and included details of at least 50 recorded incidents of harassment.  The allegations involved claims of unwelcomed cuddling, female staff being told to sit on his knee and being asked to massage his ears. Although he denied the claims, Mr. Kelvin stepped down. Shortly after the allegations, the company’s shares fell 15%, a profit warning was issued, and Mr. Kelvin’s successor Lindsay Page and chair David Bernstein resigned.

The retailer was hit by several subsequent profit warnings and suffered during the pandemic lockdowns. It was acquired by Authentic Brands Group which own Reebok, Hunter and Juicy Couture and delisted from the London stock market in 2022 after accounting errors on its stock position.

John McNamara, chief strategy and transition officer at Authentic Brands Group blames the partnership with Dutch company AARC by claiming it has damaged and weakened Ted Baker’s financial position. McNamara said: NODL, had "built up a significant level of arrears" during a tie-up with AARC and the damage done "was too much to overcome".

According to reports from the BBC, Teneo look set to be appointed as Administrators for the struggling fashion retailer. At this stage it remains unclear as to how many of the circa 975 employees and 46 stores are at risk.

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