Investors buy large shares in Ted Baker, but the odds are stacked against a comeback

Stephan ShakespeareCEO and Co-Founder
January 15, 2020, 9:40 AM UTC

Last year was a torrid time for the fashion chain Ted Baker. Beginning with the resignation of CEO and founder Ray Kelvin, who was accused by current and former staff of harassment and ‘creating a culture of bullying’, the subsequent costly legal investigation led to three profit warnings during 2019 and the company reported losses of £23 million.

Ted Baker’s troubles haven’t ended there either; the chain warned its stock value had been overestimated between £20-25million, causing its share price to tumble.

Recently, though, investors have bought back into the company, suggesting they’re betting on the brand making a come-back. However YouGov data suggests this may be a while off. Currently, (according to YouGov BrandIndex data) 8% of Britons would consider purchasing clothing from Ted Baker, including 11% of men. Yet just 5% of women say they would buy Ted Baker clothes, a huge concern for a company where two-thirds of its business is womenswear.

The brand’s reputation has also suffered significantly over the past year, particularly among those who were already customers of the brand. After news of the stock overestimation broke in December, impression scores (whether someone has a positive or negative impression of a brand) declined by 4.4 points among the public, but by a huge 13 points among current customers. Similarly, reputation scores (whether someone is proud of embarrassed to work for a brand) declined by 2.7 points nationally and by a massive 26.6 points among current customers.

While Ted Baker’s reputation may have suffered and the brand’s buzz scores (a net measure of whether consumers have heard anything positive or negative about the brand in the last fortnight) have flat-lined between 0 and 2 for the last few weeks, consideration scores for the brand among current customers have remained between 55 and 85 despite the company’s troubles.

But that’s a very small segment - just 2% of the country say that they tend to buy clothes from Ted Baker. This may mean that while consideration from this group is high, it won’t necessarily create the sales needed to rescue the brand.

As the seventh most popular luxury brand according to YouGov Ratings, with a 51% positive opinion among millennials, Ted Baker is attempting to make a comeback. It remains to be seen whether the damage to its reputation is already too severe.

This article previously appeared in City A.M.