Retailer Ted Baker caps off tough year with first profit drop in a decade
Ted Baker reported its first drop in annual profit since the 2008 financial crisis, highlighting tough conditions on Britain's high streets, as the fashion retailer faces life without its founder.
Ray Kelvin, who developed the Ted Baker brand and had been CEO since the company's launch in 1988, resigned last month after an investigation into "forced hugging" and "a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged".
Mr Kelvin, who denies all allegations of misconduct, remains the biggest shareholder.
Ted Baker had already warned last month that full-year earnings would miss forecasts due to volatile exchange rates, higher costs and a writedown on inventory.
Shares in the group, known for suits, shirts and dresses with quirky details, were down 2.9pc at 1002am yesterday, having hit their lowest since a January boost from a reassuring Christmas trading update. "The fashion house has been under pressure recently due to the tough trading environment, and the management shake-up might add to the existing uncertainty," CMC Markets analyst David Madden said.
Ted Baker said it was investigating its policies, procedures and the handling of staff complaints and would reach conclusions early in the second quarter.
Acting CEO Lindsay Page told Reuters the board was determined to learn from what has happened.
"One thing that we did do was implement a revamped hotline where if people had any grievances to bring forward they were able to do that," commercial director Phil Clark said.
Ted Baker said 2018 pretax profit fell 26.1pc to £50.9m (€58.7m), hurt by discounting.
Annual retail sales rose 4.2pc to £461m including its online business, the company said.