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Frasers Group and Next have contacted administrators at Teneo Advisory to explore the potential purchase of Ted Baker’s collapsed UK and European arm.

No Ordinary Designer Label, the fashion brand’s retail and e-commerce business in the UK and Europe, was put into administration last month. Authentic Brands Group, which owns the troubled retailer, said that the “damage done” by its AARC partnership was “too much to overcome”.

When it fell into administration, Ted Baker employed around 975 people and ran 46 shops in the UK. However, yesterday, it was announced that 11 Ted Baker UK stores will be closed in the coming days, while a further four stores will also cease trading as a result of notice being served by landlords.

Sources told The Times that some shops could be saved under a deal with Next or Frasers Group, which are both understood to want to keep Ted Baker’s in-person presence. According to an insider, both conglomerates have less than six weeks to submit a bid and a buyer could be announced within the next three weeks.

Ted Baker first faced trials and tribulations back in 2019 when its founder Ray Kelvin stepped down after accusations about his treatment of female employees. This, coupled with pandemic-related losses, caused the business to suffer. By 2020, the company was forced to cut hundreds of jobs and raised £100 million to rebalance its financials.

Authentic Brands Group (ABG) acquired Ted Baker for £211 million in August 2022 leading to its delisting from the London Stock Exchange. Following its usual mode of managing brands, ABG then set about outsourcing key aspects of the business, from design to retail, to several partners. Little-known Dutch company AARC was appointed to run the UK and Europe retail and e-commerce business but quickly ran into financial difficulty.

ABG was obliged to step in and offer financial support but it says AARC failed to provide further promised funding for the Ted Baker retail business and it was obliged to pull the plug on the partnership in February. It subsequently appointed Teneo to stabilise the business while it sought another retail partner.

Benji Dymant and Daniel Smith of Teneo Financial Advisory Limited have been managing the administration.

Both Next and Frasers have become to grim reapers of the British high street in recent years. Next snapped up failing brands FatFace, Joules and Made.com, Cath Kidston and JoJo Maman Bébé. Meanwhile, Frasers Group has been on a role acquiring Matchesfashion, Wiggle and I Saw It First to name a few. It has also been snapping up shares of Boohoo and Asos left, right and centre.

To learn more, read TheIndustry.fashion’s feature ‘In History: Ted Baker. A timeline of a British retail icon’ here.



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