Ted Baker posts first annual profit drop since financial crisis

Founder Ray Kelvin stepped down earlier this month over misconduct allegations

British fashion retailer Ted Baker reported lower annual pretax profit on Thursday, its first decline since the financial crisis, as discounting and uncertainty on Britain's high street weighed on the company.

Ted Baker, whose founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin quit this month after misconduct allegations, said group pretax profit fell 26.1 per cent to £50.9 million (€58.8 million) for the year ended Jan. 26.

The company said it had come up with several strategies and contingency plans to minimise disruptions caused by Brexit, including forming a group to work with external advisers to identify key risks.

The retailer, housed in London’s “Ugly Brown Building”, said its Brexit review included a look at its regulatory compliance, trade and team members.

Ted Baker, which was founded in 1988 and has about 500 stores and concessions globally, said retail sales rose 4.2 per cent to £461 million including its online business, while retail sales in its UK and Europe business rose 4.6 per cent to £315 million.

The stock fell more than 40 per cent in 2018, hurt by lower wholesale sales and retail sluggishness as consumers scaled back on spending. Ted Baker also dealt with a long and harsh winter in Europe and North America, followed by an unusually hot summer.

The end of 2018 brought more turmoil as Ted Baker announced an independent investigation into misconduct claims against its founder after an online campaign claiming to represent over 200 employees asked for an end to “forced hugging” and “a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged.” – Reuters

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