Managing an clothing retailer during the pandemic has not been easy, especially for one trader who set up a new shop during lockdown.
Henry George Menswear found itself in that position when it opened its second store on Mansfield’s Queen’s Walk from where the business was only able to trade from for around a month before the UK re-entered a national lockdown in early 2021.
On top this, a little over 18 months ago the independent store’s main shop in Ilkeston was targeted in a break-in only two days after it opened and a substantial amount of stock was never returned.
Despite this, the company has big ambitions for this year and has still seen ‘month-on-month growth’ during the pandemic, largely thanks to its blooming online business which now has an international customer-base.
Operations manager Henry George, from Ilkeston, said: “We have one site in Ilkeston and one in Mansfield that we were finally able to open in December. But that was only for about a month before we had to close again with the restrictions.
“It was quite disruptive having that happen, but we knew there would be risks when we acquired the new store in earlier lat year. We should have moved in there in July but that wasn’t possible.
“We ended having a good month at the new store when it was open though and the footfall as really good for us in that location.
“But we’ve still been growing month-on-month as a business through the pandemic which does seem odd but that’s why we committed to taking on the second shop.
“Most of that growth has been down to the success of our online store which is now at an all time high. We are shipping abroad to places like Germany and Spain with customers all over the world really.
Henry George’s online store stocks brands including Ellesse, Lyle & Scott, Sergio Tacchini, and GUESS.
The business set up its first shop in Ilkeston in November 2019, only two days before it was broken into and burgled.
Ashley added: “In an odd way I think the burglary worked in our favour. It made the local community aware of who we are and support us which has been great to see. We never got the stock back from them though.
“Re-opening again within a number of weeks is going to be difficult because it’s more or less like we will be opening a new business in Mansfield having only been there for a short period.
“It will be a challenge for us and while we are losing money with the shops being closed, we’ve set big goals for the company.
“We’re over 40 percent up this year to date with our trade which is a good thing. We’re also hoping to take on a new store by the end of the year and we’re currently exploring Long Eaton as an option.”