East Midlands retail giants eye Ted Baker rescue deal

Two East Midlands high street giants are in the running to snap up stricken fashion retailer Ted Baker’s European arm.

The Times is reporting that both Next and Sports Direct have contacted administrators Teneo about taking on certain Ted Baker stores, in a move which will save jobs.

Ted Baker employed almost 1,000 people across 46 shops and a headquarters function when it collapsed into administration.

On Monday (April 8), Ted Baker announced that it will close 11 stores and cut head office roles, resulting in 145 redundancies.

120 store staff alongside 25 head office roles have been axed as administrators at Teneo look to reduce central costs at the fashion brand. Another four stores will close after landlords served notice on the sites, resulting in a further 100 redundancies.

Each store, including one in Nottingham, is currently loss-making and administrators say the sites have no prospect of being returned to profitability, even with material rent reductions. Closing stores will all have ceased trading by April 19.

However, The Times says that some stores could be saved in a rescue deal if either Next or Sports Direct comes forward with a favourable offer within the next six weeks.

Meanwhile, the imminent closure of Nottingham’s Ted Baker store on Bridlesmith Gate illustrates the challenges faced by city centre retail and the need for investment, said East Midlands Chamber.

East Midlands Chamber director of policy and insight, Chris Hobson, said: “The Ted Baker store has been a familiar part of Bridlesmith Gate for a number of years so it’s sad to hear its doors are to soon close, especially in a city centre with so much growth potential.

“The announcement is a reminder of the challenges faced by the retail sector, however, new and fledgling businesses with their sights on a traditional high street presence shouldn’t be discouraged – where possible businesses should wholeheartedly embrace digital technology and the wide customer base it provides, so that huge online market can be complementary to their bricks and mortar offering.

“It’s also a timely reminder that the public and private sector must work together to support the development and modernisation needed to pull people into the city centre to work, study and live.

“Getting the city centre where it needs to be so that people enjoy leisure time alongside their work life is within reach, but continued investment and following through on plans is critical.”