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Clothes shop for tall women to close after trading conditions worsen

The nearest shop will now be in Birmingham

A clothes shop dedicated to serving tall women in Nottingham is to close.

Long Tall Sally, in King’s Walk, will shut permanently on Friday, March 9, after suffering from tough trading conditions.

The international chain’s chief executive Andrew Shapin announced the news in an email to customers, saying more customers were now shopping online.

Five staff members will be made redundant.

He said in the email: “Over the past few years, we – and many other retailers – have witnessed a significant shift in consumers shopping online rather than in physical stores.

“This, combined with rising property and staff costs, has made it difficult for us to trade profitably.

“We have explored many possible alternatives to closure but sadly, our Nottingham store is no longer financially viable."

In a further statement issued to the Post, Mr Shapin said: "Store footfall in the UK is steadily declining, but the encouraging news is that our online and international operations are growing at pace.

"Our business is strong and healthy - we're serving more tall women than ever before and we're committed to growing our range, investing in more collaborations and expanding into new markets - Ireland and the Netherlands to name but two.

"The investments we've made in enhancing our online offer - more choice, faster shipping, tracked deliveries - are yielding dividends. Customers are voting with their feet by choosing to shop online rather than in store.

"Closing stores is always a very difficult decision and it saddens me to do so. Five members of staff are affected by the closure and we are supporting them every step of the way in finding new employment."

Long Tall Sally was launched in 1976 with a mission to give tall women greater choice when it comes to buying clothes.

The brand says it manufactures clothes to position hips, hems, pockets and plackets where they should be, rather than just adding inches.

It now has 26 stores in the UK, Germany, USA, Canada and Netherlands, employing 364 people.

Ten of those shops are in Britain, with other cities including Bath, Birmingham, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Norwich, St Albans, Tunbridge Wells and York.

Mr Shapin said that Nottingham customers can enjoy a 10 percent discount with free delivery and returns online for the next year using the code DG11.

Alternatively, the nearest store is a concession within House of Fraser, in Corporation Street, Birmingham.

Chris Hobson, director of policy at East Midlands Chamber, said: “Specialist businesses with premises will always find it hard to compete with those selling similar products or services only online.

"There is nothing to stop a specialist retailer from having an online presence but they will still have to pay business rates and other premises costs that the purely online retailer won’t have.

“We don’t like to hear of any business failing and jobs being lost, particularly at this time of year when many retailers see increased footfall and for some the Christmas and January sales period is what keeps them buoyant for the year.

“We have campaigned for a long time to have the business rates system changed to reflect a firm’s ability to pay, which could go quite a long way towards levelling the premises-v-online playing field, but so far our efforts have fallen on deaf ears and the loss of high street businesses is the inevitable outcome.

"It’s something that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

The Post has contacted Long Tall Sally to ask how jobs will be affected in the Nottingham store.

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