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Ray Kelvin

Founder and chief executive, Ted Baker

Celebrating its 21st birthday this year, Ted Baker made a break for a younger and thus more recession-proof consumer by launching Born by Ted Baker, a cheaper men’s casualwear sub-brand - a strategy that was also seen at rivals Reiss and Hobbs.

The charismatic Kelvin, who is the “closest man to Ted” and lives and breathes the brand, has weathered the recession better than most, with retail sales up 19.8% over the 13 weeks to November 14 - a better performance than anticipated.

But wholesale was a different kettle of fish, falling back 25% as the quirky British brand closed a number of accounts and transferred some wholesale accounts to retail concessions, against a tough trading backdrop.

Kelvin remains bullish that wholesale will pick up, insisting it is “doing quite nicely”. And he can certainly count on the support of his team, some of whom have been working for Kelvin for as long as the brand has existed.

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