Barbour stockists stand to lose hundreds of thousands of pounds in potential sales because 8,000 of the brand’s quilted jackets have been stolen and there is no other brand to replace it.
The Barbour brand was set to be one of the biggest success stories of autumn 10, with iconic pieces such as its quilted jackets and Barbour International belted wax jacket having a ‘fashion moment’, but it has warned of delivery delays after more than £500,000-worth of stock was stolen in a raid on a lorry.
The theft presents a major opportunity for rival brands to cash in on the demand for traditional waxed jackets, which have surged in popularity following a series of celebrity endorsements by the likes of TV presenter Alexa Chung.
However, indies and department stores told Drapers no other brand had the right offer. Jan Shutt, whose premium womenswear indie Sunday Best in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, has taken on Barbour for the first time this season, said its parkas and biker boots were key sellers and there was unlikely to be anything to plug the gap if deliveries came up short.
“The only other brand that is similar is Belstaff, but that’s a third more expensive and people want a Barbour, with the logo,” she said.
David Weeks, buying director at Edinburgh-based young fashion indie Xile, added: “I still have my November and December delivery to come and wouldn’t be happy if there was a problem.”
If shoppers are unable to get the branded goods, they are likely to take recourse to the high street, where nearly every young fashion and contemporary chain has a copycat version of Barbour’s offer.
Barbour managing director Steve Buck apologised for disruption to deliveries caused by the theft, which took place on October 7. The brand has about 350 UK accounts.