Hunter Boots Collapse: Brexit, Inflation, and Warm Weather to Blame

Hunter’s Wellington Boots were the only product that united Britain, from the Royal Family to Pop Stars and the Countryside to the City. $175 tall wellies are the classic rain boots that can be worn to a music festival, or even just for splashing in puddles during a storm.

Hunter Boot’s administration was the UK equivalent of bankruptcy. It was caused by a mix of supply-chain problems, Brexit and inflation, as well as unseasonably warm temperatures.

The papers filed by AlixPartners last week, the administrator of the company, stated that the company, known for its durable, long-lasting footwear, has been facing “significant challenges” since 2019. Debts are listed at approximately £115 million (roughly $146 million).

Sales in North America, the most important market for Hunter, fell 15.4% at that time. According to Hunter’s filings with Companies House, the company blamed the US for having one of the hottest and driest Winters on record.

According to filings, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, the company’s sales dropped by 20%. This prompted the company to raise money, refinance its debt, and restructure ownership. In 2021, sales picked up again. However, the company blamed Brexit and supply chain problems for its ongoing issues.

Hunter is not yet over. As part of restructuring, Authentic Brands Group purchased the intellectual property of Hunter. Ted Baker was also acquired by Authentic Brands Group. Authentic Brands Group Chief Executive Jamie Salter stated in a press release that the company was looking forward to “continue to grow the Hunter brand.” Authentic did not respond to a comment request. The boot is an icon of British culture. Hunter began in Edinburgh in 1857 as the North British Rubber Company. It became known for its sturdy Wellington boots, which were popular with both festival-goers and the countryside. They were often seen on celebrities at music festivals in the 2000s and 2010. Kate Moss and Alexa Chand are two examples.

Hunter’s market has been eroded by competitors like Le Chameau and Aigle, and waterproof leather boot Dubarry. In 2013, the society magazine Tatler wrote that “Hunters were for Londoners”, a sarcastic insult that implied that wearing them meant you didn’t know what you were doing. “Le Chameau” was deemed plainly posh.