Long Tall Sally, the world’s top international tall women’s clothier, announced on Tuesday that it is closing, leaving tall women around the world in a lurch. The brand catered to women over a certain height and was also popular among many taller trans women. Some expressed their distress on Twitter today:
Long Tall Sally is closing down, which means I need to learn to sew.
— Verity Holloway (@Verity_Holloway) June 16, 2020
Disaster! Been shopping with you since the 1980s. Where will I find suits and trousers now? Nothing fits properly elsewhere ????????
— Sarah Wingrove (@SarahWingrove1) June 16, 2020
The closure of Long Tall Sally has really been the summary of how this week has gone for us trans folks. Heart broken for them and also now have literally nowhere to buy jeans in the UK.
— Rachel de Spoons (@MissSp00n) June 16, 2020
The shuttering is particularly disastrous to customers because the company had bought up competitors across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Germany, including Canada’s Tall Girl Shop, Dutch rival Pretty Tall, German company Long Fashion, U.S. shop Long Elegant Legs, and U.S. tall shoe retailer Barefoot Tess.
A letter to customers explained that the 44-year-old brand has “relied heavily on shareholder support,” and that “the economy is now too uncertain for our shareholders to continue to support the business.” The company had 26 shops in the U.K., U.S., Canada, and Germany when it was purchased in 2016 by German company TriStyle, which also owns brands Peter Hahn and Madeline. The company’s longtime CEO, Andrew Shapin, departed in October and was not replaced.
The economics of tall women’s clothing are particularly brutal: Unlike men’s clothing, where the same 20 sizes of khakis can sit on sales racks for years, women’s fashion is seasonal and updated as swiftly as every six weeks, which steeply increases costs and narrows margins. It is also difficult for tall retailers to cater to international customers whose commonality is size, not style or demographic. Affordably locating and marketing to those customers is also a challenge.
The store will remain open until August, and is reportedly open to finding a buyer.