Ari Hoffman, chief executive officer of Scotch & Soda USA, has been named ceo of Ted Baker’s North American business, a newly created role. He’ll join the U.K.-based brand in December.
Hoffman has been with Scotch & Soda for the past four years. Before that, he was president and ceo of Benetton’s U.S. operations. He has also worked for Gant USA, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix and Lacoste over the course of his 30-plus years in the apparel industry.
Ted Baker has been mired in controversy for much of the past year after its founder, Ray Kelvin, was accused by employees of inappropriate touching and behavior in the workplace. Kelvin denied the allegations but resigned his position in March following a voluntary leave of absence. He did, however, retain his stock in the publicly traded company. Kelvin, who owns 35 percent of the business, was rumored over the summer to be contemplating a private equity buyout of the company. Since July, however, those rumors have quieted.
In April, Ted Baker elevated Lindsay Page to ceo. He had been with the company since 1997 and was acting ceo while the harassment charges were investigated. Page said of Hoffman: “We are delighted to announce that Ari will be joining the Ted Baker team in December. His vast experience and in-depth understanding of the North American market will further strengthen our global executive team. Ari has a deep understanding of the North American market and he has significant experience of working with well-known and prestigious global brands like ours. I have no doubt that he will be a driving force in continuing to develop the Ted Baker brand in North America, particularly supporting our online and digital business development.”
Hoffman said he’s eager to “lead the company’s North American team to even greater success. Ted Baker is an outstanding brand that I have been an admirer and consumer of for some time. I look forward to accelerating the development of this quintessential British brand in the significant North American market.”
North America represents Ted Baker’s second largest market.
Since joining Scotch & Soda, Hoffman has significantly expanded the Amsterdam-based brand’s retail footprint. It operates about 40 stores in the U.S., eight of which have opened in the past year. It is also planning a unit at the American Dream center being built in Rutherford, N.J., as well as in Austin, Tex., and Atlanta. It also has a strong wholesale business which accounts for approximately one-third of its revenue in North America and recently launched the first men’s rental subscription service.
Ted Baker, according to its 2019 annual report, had retail sales of 461 million pounds, wholesale sales of 156.5 million pounds and 22 million pounds in licensing revenue. It operates 136 stores in North America, a combination of full-price stores, concessions and outlets. For the year ended Jan. 26, 2019, retail sales in the North American division increased by 4.7 percent to 125.7 million pounds, although sales per square foot were down due to decreased traffic. New stores were opened in Austin, Chicago, Orlando, Fla., San Diego and San Francisco, as well as the brand’s first stores in Mexico though a licensing partner. E-commerce sales in the region rose by 26.4 percent to 20.6 million pounds and now represent 16.4 percent of the company’s business in that market. Wholesale sales increased 3.1 percent to 56.8 million pounds.
Hoffman declined to comment further on the appointment or his plans for the brand, and Page could not be reached for comment.