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Ted Baker bosses resign from crisis-hit fashion brand

[LONDON] British fashion brand Ted Baker on Tuesday said both its top bosses had quit, as it warned on profits and suspended its dividend on weak consumer spending amid economic uncertainties.

The group has replaced chief executive Lindsay Page with finance director Rachel Osborne on an interim basis less than a year after Mr Page taking charge.

Executive chairman David Bernstein has also departed, Ted Baker said in a statement.

The company warned annual pre-tax profit would stand at between £5-10 million (S$8.98-17.9 million), massively down on a year earlier.

"We have continued to experience challenging trading conditions in the UK as a result of weak consumer spending, macro-economic uncertainty and a backdrop of elevated promotional activity," the company said.

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The group's annual forecast, blamed also on poor November trade particularly over the "Black Friday" discounting period, compared with profit before tax of £50.9 million a year earlier.

In reaction, Ted Baker shares tanked by about one third on the London stock market, before recouping some losses to 336 pence, down 16 per cent from Monday's closing level.

"This is a train wreck of an update, and it feels like the company is coming apart at the seams," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"Trading has been tough for retailers in recent years as the rise of online shopping has hurt the high street.

"To make matters worse, the UK consumer environment has become more fragile on account of Brexit."

Ted Baker last week revealed that it had overstated the value of its inventory by as much as £25 million.

Mr Page had only been in charge since March after his predecessor, Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin, resigned following allegations of harassment.

AFP

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