It has been a heartbreaking week for Ted Baker, the star of the retail trade, and a commercial update has done little to reassure investors.
The actions of the fashion company fell by 23% on a minimum of five years after the harassment claims against his boss Ray Kelvin came to light in the form of a petition against his "enveloping" culture.
A statement today confirmed that Ted Baker enlisted the Herbert Smith Freehills law firm to independently investigate claims against Kelvin, which include accusations of "asking young women to sit on their knees, cuddle them or let them rub their ears".
The head and founder of Ted Baker, Ray Kelvin (above), refuses to show his face in official photographs
Kelvin, who founded the fashion company 30 years ago in Glasgow, has seen £ 50 million wiped away by the value of his 34 percent stake in the business since the claims against him arose.
Ted Baker denied that the hug was "insisted".
The statement also revealed that group sales slipped 0.2% over the last 16 weeks, driven by a decline in its wholesale division.
The company blamed the non-seasonal weather across the UK, Europe and the east coast of America, as well as the challenges in the retail market.
Retail sales were supported by an 18 percent jump in its online division. However, as Patrick O & # 39; Brien of GlobalData Retail pointed out, Ted Baker's store sales declined by around 3% for the period.
Patrick O & Brien tweeted that store sales at Ted Baker decreased by around 3% over the period
Ted Baker said sales of his stores over the past eight weeks have increased by 4% as the weather has become more typical for the season.
In a brief statement, Kelvin said: "We are pleased with the continued expansion of the brand, which reflects the strength of the Ted Baker brand and the design and quality of our collections."
At the start of this year, the retailer said he was hit by the House of Fraser crash, which posted lower half-year profits.
Ted Baker, founded in 1988 in Glasglow, has 532 stores worldwide and is still expanding
Richard Hunter, head of the Interactive Investor markets, said that the net decline of 23% of the price of this week's Ted bakery shares to around £ 15.00 raises a series of questions, "not less important if investors were waiting for an excuse to get out of the stock & # 39;
He said: "Historically, Ted Baker was a swanky brand with a valuation of earnings to match.Rerating the stock brought the multiple to a level of gains just over 10 times, unlike the 30 times that the company had previously attracted.
"With the weight of wider economic uncertainties, not to mention the shadow of the Brexit that questions British consumers, the jury remains out."