Ted Baker Owner Ac­cused of In­ap­pro­pri­ate­ness, Shares Sink

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY SAMANTHA CONTI

LONDON — Shares in Bri­tish high street re­tailer Ted Baker closed down 15.1 per­cent to 15.50 pounds on the London Stock Ex­change Mon­day, fol­low­ing a me­dia re­port over the week­end that fe­male em­ploy­ees want founder Ray Kelvin to keep his hands off them.

The stock price spi­raled down af­ter The Sun­day Times of London pub­lished a story say­ing fe­male staff at the fashion brand were fed up with “forced hug­ging,” in­ap­pro­pri­ate phys­i­cal con­tact and sex­u­ally charged com­ments from Kelvin, who con­tin­ues to run the com­pany he founded in 1988.

Staff have started a pe­ti­tion for the be­hav­ior to stop, the pa­per said, and have called for the for­ma­tion of an ex­ter­nal body to hear their com­plaints. They ac­cuse Ted Baker’s in­ter­nal h.r. staff of fail­ing to ad­dress work­place com­plaints.

In a state­ment re­spond­ing to the al­le­ga­tions, Ted Baker said it has “al­ways placed great im­por­tance on the com­pany’s cul­ture and owes ev­ery­thing to the com­mit­ment of our peo­ple. It is crit­i­cally im­por­tant to us that ev­ery mem­ber of our staff feels val­ued and re­spected at work.”

The com­pany went on to say that Kelvin “greets many peo­ple he meets with a hug, be it a share­holder, in­vestor, sup­plier, part­ner, cus­tomer or col­league. Hugs have be­come part of Ted Baker’s cul­ture, but are ab­so­lutely not in­sisted upon.

“Hav­ing very re­cently been made aware of the pe­ti­tion, we are now in di­a­logue with [staff] to un­der­stand the de­tails and na­ture of the claims,” it added.

The com­pany said it has “clear and ro­bust” h.r. poli­cies in place to pro­vide em­ploy­ees with a wide range of re­port­ing op­tions for any is­sues that they might en­counter. Ted Baker said it’s tak­ing the claims se­ri­ously and will en­sure that a

Fe­male work­ers at the re­tailer are pe­ti­tion­ing for founder Ray Kelvin to quit hug­ging and touch­ing them.

thor­ough in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion is car­ried out.

In the first half ended Aug. 11, the com­pany re­ported a 3.5 per­cent in­crease in group rev­enues to 306 mil­lion pounds. Ted Baker dis­trib­utes across five con­ti­nents via its own re­tail stores, whole­sale and li­cens­ing. Nord­strom and Bloom­ing­dale’s both carry the col­lec­tions.

It has 544 stores, con­ces­sions and out­lets world­wide and of­fers mer­chan­dise rang­ing from men’s and women’s wear to ac­ces­sories, chil­dren’s wear and items for

A look from the most re­cent Ted Baker cam­paign.

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