Yup, looks like the final curtain for pioneering outdoors retailer Nau. There’s an open letter on the Nau website telling us that they just couldn’t keep going. The capital markets were too tight for them to raise more capital. It’s a massive shame as they’ve really tried to push what consumers expect from sustainable/green clothing – and they’re a company that we’re been looking up to. However, they had quite a difficult business model – where they were not only launching a new brand, but also controlling all the distribution channels (in other words – not selling an outdoor brand through the outdoor stores) and trying to get people to choose items in the stores but get the clothes posted to them (with a discount). All these things made a lot a sense for Nau – but only if they could get enough people to actually purchase this way.

Seems like this didn’t happen. Nau had a target of $11m for 2007, but it looks like sales to date were more likely to have been around $4.5m (based on the fact that they said that they donated $225,000 to charity under a scheme that was supposed to be 5% of sales). Nau was always ambitious, but it’s still sad to see a company making good clothes shut it’s doors.