Long term DCA member company Long Tall Sally has announced that there is to be a winding down of its business, spurred by the adverse effect of Covid-19 on its sales. The business had closed its retail stores around two years ago in order to focus all efforts on its direct to consumer eCommerce operation and had been working to turn it around. However, with many clothing brands now offering a tall fit option across their ranges the increased competition from physical and online retailers had contributed to a dilution of Long Tall Sally’s USP.
The brand and business was originally founded in London in 1976 by Judy Rich in 1976 as a niche mail order business. This was at a time when there were very few, if any, options from mainstream retailers for taller women. The business had developed ties with the Tall Club, a social group for taller people and had, over time, opened a number of stores. It was acquired in 2016, from Amery Capital, by the German direct-to-consumer retailer TriStyle Mode GmbH. Tristyle also operates the Madeleine and Peter Hahn businesses which are not affected by its decision relating to Long Tall Sally.
The plan is now to wind down operations from August and this will affect the brand’s websites and mail order operations in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand and Australia. Chief operating officer Alison Doherty spoke to us yesterday to confirm reports that the business would close without debts and with all staff receiving full notice and redundancy settlements. It was also said that parent company TriStyle would be open to discussions with prospective buyers or licensees for the ISP and related assets.
Long Tall Sally currently employs around 86 staff across the business.
In an official statement, the business said: “The changing economics of the high street and a fiercely competitive online arena resulted in the closure of all Long Tall Sally stores in 2018.
“Since that time, Long Tall Sally has relied on significant financial shareholder support. The sudden financial impact of Covid-19 has further weakened the business, putting it in an unsustainable position. Over the last three months, the business has taken advantage of the Government Job Retention Scheme, however, the outlook for the coming months is now so uncertain that TriStyle can no longer support the business.
“Long Tall Sally management team with the support of its shareholders plan to conclude the business in an orderly manner over the coming months, working closely with its partners and suppliers to find acceptable solutions regarding obligations and contracts.”
Alison Doherty, chief operating officer, Long Tall Sally, said to us yesterday: “We are all saddened by the situation. I am proud of Long Tall Sally and our wonderful, talented team.” Alison also said that the business will be assisting its team members in their search for new roles in any way it can.
“We’ve been inundated with lovely messages from our customers via social media since the news broke,” said Alison. “We have had some wonderfully loyal customers over the years who say that they will really miss us.”