Long Tall Sally is closing up shop.
The London-based specialty retailer, which sells apparel and accessories for women 5-foot-8 and taller, announced Tuesday that it will be closing permanently due to the coronavirus.
“The changing economics of retail, along with fierce competition, have hit us hard,” wrote chief operating officer Alison Doherty in a statement posted to the retailer’s site. “The very sudden and very profound impact of COVID-19 has further weakened our position. The economic outlook is now too uncertain for our shareholders to continue to support the business, so it’s with a very heavy heart that I must tell you we will be winding down Long Tall Sally.”
Doherty said the company expects to close its website in late August but does not have an exact shutdown date confirmed yet. The company is working with its shareholders, suppliers and contractors through the closure process and has not fallen into administration, the U.K.’s equivalent of the U.S.’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. According to a notice posted on the retailer’s site, it is open to finding a buyer or selling its assets.
Founded in 1976, Long Tall Sally caters to taller women with a selection of larger shoe sizes and apparel with longer torso, shoulder and hip proportions. In addition to offering its own brand, the retailer carries styles from labels including Karl Lagerfeld, Dolce Vita and Blowfish. While the pandemic appears to be the final nail in the coffin for LTS, the company said it has faced significant challenges since 2017 amid increased competition. In hopes of strengthening its position, the company implemented a turnaround plan in 2018 that included the shuttering of all stores. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in its recovery plans.
Amid the coronavirus crisis, retailers across the fashion and footwear industry have had to contend with numerous challenges — including government-mandated temporary store closures and reduced discretionary spending. To bolster their liquidity, companies have taken steps such as furloughing workers, reducing operating expenses and drawing down on their revolving credit lines. Numerous retailers have announced permanent store closures in recent weeks, and a growing list of companies — including JCPenney, Neiman Marcus Group and Stage Stores — have filed for bankruptcy protection.