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Tough climate blamed for Bruno Saint Hilaire’s UK exit

French contemporary menswear brand Bruno Saint Hilaire is to pull out of the UK market for autumn 10.

The brand, which has sales of about £3m in the UK and 160 stockists including independents and department store chain John Lewis, is to shutter its UK operations in June next year.

The strength of the euro against the pound, and a difficult trading climate in France, has forced the brand to consolidate operations and focus on its core domestic business.

Spring 10 UK orders will be delivered as planned but the brand’s exit will come as a blow to independent retailers who rely on it for core menswear sales.

Indies told Drapers they wouldlook to brands such as British brand Gurteen to plug the gap.

“It is a blow,” said one independent stockist. “It has been our best-selling trouser brand for 15 years.

“However, it will stop us from being lazy and force us to look for new brands.”

The Bruno Saint Hilaire office in Birmingham will close in June and the UK team of four will lose their jobs. Bruno Saint Hilaire UK sales manager Mike Smith said: “Troubles with currency hit so much of the margin it made it difficult for the brand to operate here.”

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