Ted Baker is a designer-led fashion brand, offering aspirational clothing and accessories in a distinct, quirky style.      

It operates stores and concessions across the UK, continental Europe, North America and Asia, with a supporting ecommerce business. The retailer traded through some 520 stores and concessions at end-January 2021, of which 280 or so are in its UK and Europe division.

Its UK wholesale business serves countries across the world, particularly in Europe, and there is a wholesale business in the US.

Territorial retail store licences cover the Middle East, Asia, and Australasia, and also wholesale operations in some of these areas. Product licences include lingerie and sleepwear, fragrance, watches, footwear, eyewear, suiting, neckwear and childrenswear. Ted Baker’s traditionally high profit margins have come under huge pressure in recent years as the retailer has turned to increased promotional activity in response to tough trading conditions.

Proving particularly tumultuous, 2019 brought numerous profit warnings and the resignation of charismatic founder and former CEO Ray Kelvin followed by the exit of replacement boss Lindsay Page and executive chair David Bernstein.      

Around the same time, consultancy firm AlixPartners was drafted in to conduct a “wide-ranging review” of Ted Baker’s business model and costs.

Ted Baker suffered a pre-tax loss at reporting level of £107.7m in FY2020, while total sales fell 44.2% to £352.0m.

New chief executive officer and former Debenhams CFO Rachel Osborne set out the retailer’s recovery strategy in mid 2020, which is critical in light of the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The strategy is built on the retailer’s strengths, which include a “strong and resilient brand”, its channel, product and geographical mix, investment in technology and logistics, and “a strong culture carried by a passionate and engaged team”.

The three-pronged strategy comprises three “building blocks”: stabilising the business, including “rethinking Ted Baker’s vision and commercial strategy”; driving growth, through re-energising the brand and drawing new customers; and operational excellence, such as a digital-first approach.

Innovation rating: 2.5

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