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Ted Baker ditches Debenhams for Next as childrenswear partner

Ted Baker is set to expand its childrenswear offering after signing up Next as its new global childrenswear licence partner.

Next will take over from incumbent childrenswear licence partner Debenhams in March, and the first collection will launch in spring 2020. 

Under the initial five-year agreement, Next will expand Ted Baker’s childrenswear offering, producing boys, girls, shoes and accessories ranges. Debenhams will remain a licence partner for lingerie and nightwear. 

Ted Baker chief executive officer Lindsay Page said: “Product licensing is a proven and highly successful pillar of Ted Baker’s strategy to expand as a global lifestyle brand. It enables us to carefully develop the brand in new, relevant categories by leveraging the specialist product expertise of our carefully selected partners.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Debenhams for its skill and hard work in establishing and developing the Ted Baker childrenswear business and we will continue to work with them in other product categories.

“Our childrenswear collections – which are small in size but big in style – have already proven incredibly popular with Ted Baker customers. As a multichannel retailer with global capabilities and wholesale experience, Next is the outstanding partner to take Ted Baker forward in this category, which we believe will deliver significant growth in the coming years.”

Sofie Willmott, senior retail analyst at analytics company Global Data, said the announcement wass “another blow for Debenhams”. She added: “It’s no secret that Ted Baker has struggled of late, but it still has appeal for family shoppers, which is perfectly in-line with Next’s customer base. I’m not sure how different the collection will be, but it’s important that Next keeps it quite limited – both in terms of product offering and availability – to maintain Ted Baker’s premium feel.

Retail analyst Richard Hyman agreed: “Although Next’s footfall probably isn’t 100% right for the brand, it is certainly much closer and better-suited to Ted Baker customers than Debenhams.

“Next has also proved that it is very adept at making the most of what it has, especially in such difficult trading conditions. Ted Baker will undoubtedly benefit from this and this partnership is going to work much better for them.”

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