TM Lewin collapses in administration for the second time

Will Wright and Chris Pole of Interpath Advisory have been appointed co-directors of British online menswear retailer TM Lewin. Founded over 120 years ago in London, the company is one of the UK’s most famous tailoring and menswear brands.

Before the pandemic, the business had grown to operate more than 150 stores globally, but after the initial impact of Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions prompted it to enter insolvency proceedings, she switched to an online-only model marketing exclusively in the UK. in the summer of 2020.

Since then, the trade has continued to be negatively affected by the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, including continued advice on working from home and a restriction on large events and social gatherings. While social distancing measures were lifted in early 2022, the cumulative impact on the Company’s cash flow was such that after exploring options for the business, the decision was made to place the Company in receivership. .

In a statement, Wright, head of restructuring at Interpath Advisory and co-director, said: “During the pandemic, menswear – and formal wear in particular – has been one of the most hard hit in the retail sector as work-from-home measures and restrictions on events led to lower demand for suits and formal tailoring.

In 2020, TM Lewin was acquired by Torque Brands, a special purpose acquisition vehicle set up by London-based consumer specialist SCP Private Equity. Torque Brands said it was determined to acquire a portfolio of complementary UK brands, with the aim of establishing a portfolio of five to eight brands over the next 12 to 18 months, which will be integrated into a common platform of shared services.

At the time, TM Lewin operated a global business with sales of over £120million in financial year 2020, with online sales accounting for over 30% of the group’s revenue in 2019.

Just over a month later, the new owner is bringing in restructuring experts to initiate a possible pre-pack administration. The company then moved to an online-only model in the summer of 2020.

Wright concludes: “Unfortunately, and despite a significant restructuring of the business at the start of the pandemic which saw it move to an online model, the impact on this famous British brand has been severe. Our immediate priority is to explore options for the business, including selling the business and its assets.”

GlobalData (Apparel) analyst Pippa Stephens summed up how the traditional menswear brand simply couldn’t cope with the changing landscape of the ‘new normal’:

“The combination of increased work from home, office dress codes becoming more casual and fewer in-person events has hurt TM Lewin since the pandemic, with these factors causing its formal offerings to fall out of favor with consumers. . While it closed all of its stores after its previous administration in 2020, which better positioned it to benefit from consumers’ shift to online shopping, it has been unable to return to profitability, underscoring the long-term change in shoppers’ clothing choices.

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