Ted Baker to 'learn lessons' of hugs probe

Ray Kelvin

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Ray Kelvin has often hidden his face in photographs

Troubled fashion chain Ted Baker has said it is “determined to learn lessons” from the “forced hugs” scandal that forced out its boss Ray Kelvin.

The pledge came in its annual results statement, less than three weeks after Mr Kelvin resigned in the wake of the misconduct allegations.

Pre-tax profit for the year to 26 January was down 26% to £50.9m, from £68.8m a year earlier.

The figures were in line with a profit warning issued last month.

The firm is continuing an investigation into the allegations against Mr Kelvin.

In its results statement, Ted Baker said it wanted all employees to feel “respected and valued” and would ensure that “appropriate changes” were made.

The scandal over Mr Kelvin, who founded the chain and was its chief executive, broke in December, when employees launched an online petition accusing him of inappropriate comments and behaviour.

The petition, on the workplace website Organise, said that more than 200 Ted Baker staff were finally breaking their silence after at least “50 recorded incidents of harassment” at the fashion group.

Staff claimed that as well as engaging them in unwelcome embraces, the brand’s founder had asked young female members of staff to sit on his knee, cuddle him or let him massage their ears.

At the time, Mr Kelvin took a voluntary leave of absence. He stepped down on 4 March.

The firm said its investigation was continuing and would now focus on Ted Baker’s “policies, procedures and handling of HR-related complaints”.

Acting chief executive Lindsay Page said that “despite difficult trading conditions”, the firm’s sales performance over the year had been “resilient”.

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