Ted Baker loses more than £100m as Covid lockdowns dent sales

Ted Baker made a loss of more than £100m in the first pandemic year as revenues at the fashion retailer plunged.

The company made revenues of £352m in the 53 weeks to the end of January, down 44% compared with revenues in the pre-pandemic year of £631m. Pretax losses were £108m.

Ted Baker went into the pandemic highly dependent on struggling physical stores, including its own shops and concessions operated in department stores. Lockdowns around the world severely hit those revenues, and government furlough support worth £8.5m was not enough to make up the difference.

The retailer added that the lockdown hit continued beyond the end of January amid further lockdowns in the UK and Europe. Sales in the 12 weeks to 24 April were down by 20%. Ted Baker said it was encouraged by the performance of UK stores since they were allowed to reopen on 12 April but revenues were still below 2019 levels.

Ted Baker had been struggling before the pandemic, and the company in June 2020 launched a fundraising and turnaround plan, including 500 job losses.

The shutdown of shops added to troubles including a big accounting error and the temporary departure of its founder, Ray Kelvin, after controversy over “forced hugs” for employees. Kelvin left the company in March 2019 and denied all allegations of misconduct. However, he kept a large stake in Ted Baker and has been actively involved in running the business since September 2020, despite handing over control to Toscafund, a hedge fund, in the June 2020 fundraising.

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Rachel Osborne, the Ted Baker chief executive, said “the impact of Covid-19 is clear in our results and has amplified some of the legacy issues impacting the business”, but the company was “in a much stronger place than it was a year ago”.

The turnaround plan included launching new products, prioritising investment in digital technology and cutting annual costs by £31m. It has also negotiated rent reductions of £8m, while rents linked to turnover were £27.8m lower.

An increase in online sales made up for some of the lost ground during the pandemic year. Online sales grew by 22% year on year to £145m.



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