Ted Baker reports surge in online sales amid “forced hugs” scandal

Ted Baker has reported a 0.2% dip in group revenue for the 16 weeks to 1 December 2018.

Overall retail sales increased 2.3%, but eCommerce was the driving force with digital sales up 18% year-on-year, which represented 30% of total retail sales for the period. Meanwhile, Ted Baker increased its retail estate square footage by 5.2% to 427,586 sq ft.

Wholesale sales fell 6.5% due to the timing of deliveries in the first half of the year.

Founder and chief executive, Ray Kelvin, said: “The investment in our flexible business model ensures that the Ted customer has multiple channels to engage with the brand and underpins our long term development. Our global eCommerce business continues to grow well and is complemented by our digital marketing strategy and unique stores that showcase the brand.”

The financial results have been overshadowed by allegations of “forced hugging” of staff by founder and CEO, Ray Kelvin. The retailer’s share price has plummeted since the news hit headlines earlier this week following a staff petition against the unusual office working culture. The Guardian has reported that the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills will conduct an investigation into the claims.