Ted Baker appoints law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to probe hugging claims

 
James Booth
Ted Baker Wooster VIP Event
Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin (pictured) does not like having his photo taken (Source: Getty)

Fashion chain Ted Baker said this morning it has appointed law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) to investigate claims of forced hugging by its boss Ray Kelvin.


The Ftse 250 chain’s shares have been battered since the news emerged that the fashion retailer has launched an internal investigation into harassment claims.

In a trading update this morning Ted Baker confirmed it had appointed HSF to investigate the claims against its founder and chief executive Kelvin.

HSF will conduct an independent external investigation into the reports received, Ted Baker said.

It will report to a committee of the company’s non-executive directors that will be chaired by Sharon Baylay.


Ted Baker’s share price fell from 1,828p on 30 November to 1,467p yesterday.

Its shares climbed 4.3 per cent this morning.

The claims emerged at the weekend after more than 200 current or former employers backed a petition calling on the company to end "a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged".

In its trading update Ted Baker said revenue had declined 0.2 per cent for the 16 week period from 11 August to 1 December compared to the same period last year.

"This reflected the anticipated decline in wholesale sales due to the timing of deliveries, largely offset by the retail sales performance," the company said.

The shares are now down 43% over the last year, as compared to a 7.9% fall for the wider FTSE250. This has resulted in some scant consolation to investors in the form of the dividend yield, which currently stands at 4.2%. Meanwhile, recent events have given rise to concerns that the 35% stake held by the founder and Chief Executive could be disposed of and, whilst extremely unlikely at this stage, this would nonetheless provide a large overhang on the stock.

Richard Hunter at Interactive Investor said: "The shares are now down 43 per cent over the last year, as compared to a 7.9 per cent fall for the wider Ftse 250. This has resulted in some scant consolation to investors in the form of the dividend yield, which currently stands at 4.2 per cent.

"Meanwhile, recent events have given rise to concerns that the 35 per cent stake held by the founder and chief executive could be disposed of and, whilst extremely unlikely at this stage, this would nonetheless provide a large overhang on the stock."

HSF conducted the investigation into PR firm Bell Pottinger's relationship with South Africa’s wealthy Gupta family that led to the collapse of the business.



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