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‘It’s not bad,’ hugs row Ted Baker chief told reporter

‘Forced hugging’: Ray Kelvin has been accused over the culture at the retailer he founded PICTURE: GETTY

A BUSINESS journalist has accused the founder of fashion chain Ted Baker of hugging her, kissing her on the cheek and saying, ‘I’m not apologising for this.’

The latest allegations against Ray Kelvin were made by Becky Waller-Davies, of Retail Week. They come after the clothing chain agreed to an investigation of working practices following claims of a culture of ‘forced hugging’ by Mr Kelvin made in an online petition.

The alleged incident occurred after an interview in which Ms Waller-Davies asked Mr Kelvin if he believed his team felt they could object to the physical nature of the office.

Writing in Retail Week, she said he replied: ‘I don’t know. We just do it… If I asked them, would they say [anything] anyway? It’s not bad is it? We have ice cream, nails done at your desk, massages, finishing early on Fridays in the summer.’ Ted Baker declined to issue a statement on the new claims. It earlier announced an external inquiry into its working practices.

‘It is critically important to us that every member of our staff feels valued and respected at work,’ it said. ‘Ray greets many people he meets with a hug, be it a shareholder, investor, supplier, partner, customer or colleague. Hugs have become part of Ted Baker’s culture, but are absolutely not insisted upon.’

Mr Kelvin owns about 35 per cent of the firm, founded in Glasgow in 1987.

£75,000 bed that’s fit for an emperor

Counting vicuñas: The bed is made with fleece of wild alpacas PICTURE: SWNS

THIS bed certainly ought to be comfy — but you might lie awake all night worrying about the £75,000 bill. The Diamond Majesty has a mattress made with fleece from vicuñas — wild alpacas — which costs £2,000 per kilo and was once only used for the Incan emperor.

Shetland wool, cashmere, silk and horse tail have also been included to ensure you won’t so much hit the sack as surrender to its embrace. Made by UK firm Vispring, the bed is touring UK furniture shops and will be at Lenleys in Canterbury until Sunday.

Store boss Alan Smart said: ‘We’re not expecting it to sell, it’s more a novelty so people can see what a bed of such a high quality feels like.’

Data breach at Quora affects 100m users

ABOUT 100million users of question-and-answer website Quora may have had their personal information compromised in a data breach.

The firm discovered on Friday that a ‘malicious third party’ had gained access to one of its systems. It said it was logging out all those potentially affected ‘out of an abundance of caution’.

The hacked data includes account details such as names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. The breach, which is now being investigated, did not affect questions and answers written anonymously.

BUSINESS BITES

■ WICKES owner Travis Perkins is selling its plumbing and heating division as it targets savings of up to £30million. The DIY and builders’ merchant group said it plans to focus on its trade businesses.

■ PEER-TO-PEER lender Zopa has received a banking licence from the City watchdog as it aims to compete with high street stalwarts. The firm will start rolling out new products next year, including its own credit card.

■ SIR Martin Sorrell, the ex-boss of ad giant wpp, is paying £118million for San Francisco-based MightyHive, a programmatic marketing specialist. His new venture, S4 Capital, has already bought Dutch firm MediaMonks.

■ THE construction sector expanded ahead of expectations last month. The Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers’ index rose to 53.4, up from 53.2 in October. A figure of 50 or more indicates growth.

■ HALF of employers say they now understand the apprenticeship levy — up from 36 per cent earlier this year. The ‘creases are being ironed out’ of the tax that can fund training, say the Institute of Directors.