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Ted Baker’s European Retail, E-commerce Division Headed for Administration After Partnership Sours

LONDON Ted Baker’s U.K. and European retail and e-commerce business is set to be placed into administration six weeks after a relationship with a local partner turned sour.

The business, known as NODL, will be put into administration by an independent director working with Ted Baker’s ultimate owner Authentic.

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Authentic said late Tuesday the European business will continue to trade through administration, while the U.S. arm of the fashion company remains unaffected.

As reported, Authentic had signed a partnership deal with AARC in April to operate Ted Baker’s 120-plus retail stores and concessions, and the brand’s online business. The deal with AARC was part of a wider licensing model that Authentic built for Ted Baker, similar to what it did for Reebok.

In February, Authentic said despite its best efforts to support AARC, a retail operator in 11 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, including providing the business with a short-term loan, it failed to meet its financial obligations.

The brand management giant removed AARC as a shareholder in the Ted Baker business and brought in a new, independent board to manage operations in AARC’s place.

It kept all the European stores open, but failed to find a new retail partner.

John McNamara, chief strategy and transition officer at Authentic Brands Group, said on Tuesday night that “despite tireless efforts,” the damage done by AARC to Ted Baker’s European retail and e-commerce business, as well as the “significant build-up of arrears was too much to overcome.”

He added that Authentic had hoped for a better outcome for the Ted Baker employees and stakeholders, and confirmed that Ted Baker will continue to operate online and in stores. According to British media reports, hundreds of jobs are at risk.

“We remain focused on securing a new partner to uphold and grow the Ted Baker brand in the U.K. and Europe where it began,” McNamara said.

It is understood that Authentic remains in “advanced discussions” with several potential operating partners to the Ted Baker brand.

Authentic’s other partnerships remain in place and are unaffected by the AARC drama. In February, Authentic said that despite the difficulties facing U.K. and European business, it remains committed to Ted Baker and is confident in the brand’s “long-term success.”

As part of the licensed model, Authentic appointed PDS Group as the designer and supplier of Ted Baker’s core categories globally. PDS Group also services wholesale accounts in the U.K. and Europe.

OSL is the appointed operating partner for Ted Baker in North America, responsible for retail, distribution, and e-commerce rights in the region.

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