Sailors’ tailor Henri Lloyd went into administration last week before being thrown a lifeline from Aligro which immediately bought it for an undisclosed sum. However the deal meant the loss of 128 jobs across the country especially in its 20 House of Fraser outlets. Aligro, which was founded on June 4 by Swedish investor Jonas Erik Andersson, bought the five stores at Salcombe, Dartmouth, Cowes, Lymington and Cheshire Oaks, securing 38 in store jobs with a further six in the Manchester Head Office.
Henri Lloyd’s troubles were down to “challenging trading conditions on the high street” cited one source. The company had been reducing costs, refinancing and selling assets, but this was not enough. Henri Lloyd Limited’s turnover was £17.7m for the year to April 1, 2017, with a gross profit of £6.12m and an operating profit of £247,688.
It had branched out with lifestyle clothing and its own stores in the early 2000s to augment the sailing clothing. It was started in 1963 by Henri Strzelecki who pioneered the use of bri-nylon in yachting clothing. His famous Consort jacket in 1965 was taken by Francis Chichester on his global circumnavigation in 1967. At one point, probably around the early 1980s the brand was so iconic that the term Henri-Lloyds virtually defined foul weather gear a bit like the Hoover of vacuum cleaners.
It is likely that in these stormy retail conditions, leaving the high street and going back to its traditional quayside business will be the safest bet to secure its future.
Image shows Sir Francis Chichester in his Consort jacket aboard Gypsy Moth IV in which he became the first solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe West to East via the great capes in 1966/7.