// Strong festive season for Ted Baker despite harassment scandal
// Sales up 12.2%
// Online sales up 18.7%
// Investigation on allegations against founder Ray Kelvin ongoing
Ted Baker has managed to record positive sales for the crucial Christmas trading period, despite the retailer being embroiled in a scandal of sexual harassment allegations.
For the five week period ending January 5, sales at the fashion retailer climbed 12.2 per cent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, online sales increased by 18.7 per cent year-on-year and represented 25.7 per cent of total retail sales – compared to 24.3 per cent this time last year.
The increase in sales was assisted by the growth of Ted Baker’s store estate, with its average retail square footage growing five per cent year-on-year to 429,576sq ft.
It comes as the retailer continues to undergo its investigation into sexual harassment allegations against founder Ray Kelvin, who has taken a leave of absence as the scandal dominated headlines in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
“The Ted Baker brand has delivered a good performance across both our stores and ecommerce business, despite the continuing challenging external trading conditions across our markets,” Ted Baker’s chief executive officer Lindsay Page said.
“This result again reflects the strength of the brand and the quality of our collections.”
Just before Ted Baker’s Christmas trading period kicked in, an online petition signed by over 1000 staff members accused Kelvin of making staff “uncomfortable” by allegedly enforcing a “hugging culture” on colleagues, as well as asking young female staff to “sit on his knee, cuddle him, or let him massage their ears”.
Further allegations emerged that Kelvin pushed an executive up against the wall of a glass meeting room in 2016, according to three anonymous witnesses.
The fashion retailer sought to quell the growing PR crisis by announcing an “independent internal investigation” into the accusations would be conducted by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.
It is understood that the law firm would report to a committee of non-executive directors chaired by Sharon Baylay.
Ted Baker said the investigation was “progressing” and that “further update will be made in due course”.
The retailer is slated to post its annual results on March 21.