Harry Mottram: Once a classy fashion retailing icon of the high street Ted Bake is a classic how the mighty have fallen. Given retailing has increasingly moved online, was hit by the Covid Crisis and hikes in interest rates and inflation like many competitors Ted Baker has been struggling. But much of it is self-inflicted. The decline began back in 2019 when founder Ray Kelvin left after claims by female colleagues, he had acted inappropriately towards them causing something of scandal at the time. Within months hundreds of jobs were slashed in a bid to save the company as it tried to put its troubles behind it.

Since then things have gone from bad to worse with this week the No Ordinary Designer Label, – the trading name of Ted Baker, filed a notice of intention to appoint Teneo Financial Advisory as administrators throwing its future into doubt. Customers with orders with the firm’s online sector will now be extremely worried about whether they may lose their money if the worst happens. Although the company says it will continue to trade normally suppliers will also be concerned – especially if they receive new orders. Potentially if the fashion retailer does go bust then thousands of customers and hundreds of suppliers could be left without a penny.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM – the business membership group dedicated to fighting bad debts and late payers with many members involved in the retail sector – said: “A major retailer like Ted Baker will have countless suppliers from window cleaners to printers, and sign-makers to point of purchase designers – let alone the home ware they sell. And then of course there are the fashion ranges which the store is known for. When a retailer gets into trouble many people and involved and for businesses who supply them it is a nightmare.”

Founded in 1988 in Scotland the brand has 500 shops and accessories around the world through wholesale with the bulk in the UK. In 2022 the brand was acquired by Authentic Brands Group (ABG) for £211 million pounds prompting the company to de-list eventually from the stock market. More problems arose over a failed partnership with Dutch outfit AARC causing more financial headaches after the two firms fell out.

Sky News reported ABG’s chief strategy and transition officer, John McNamara, as saying: “Despite our tireless efforts, the damage done during a period under AARC in which NODL built up a significant level of arrears was too much to overcome.

“We wish that there could have been a better outcome for the Ted Baker employees and stakeholders. It is hopefully some consolation for customers that NODL will continue to trade online and in stores.

“We remain focused on securing a new partner to uphold and grow the Ted Baker brand in the UK and Europe where it began.”

ICSM’s Ian Carrotte said: “Don’t fall for the line about being ‘we’re too big to fail’ or ‘do you know who we are?’ Any company can go bust so now the cat is out of the bag – be very cautious in your dealings from now on.”



For information on ICSM visit www.icsmcredit.com or call 0844 854 1850.
ICSM, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR. Tel: 0844 854 1850. www.icsmcredit.comIan.carrotte@icsmcredit.com