TM Lewin is placed into administration for second time in two years
TM Lewin has fallen into administration for the second time in two years after an attempt to revive the British formal shirt and tailoring brand as an online-only entity failed.
Prior to the pandemic the business had grown into a successful multi-channel business with more than 150 stores worldwide under the ownership of private equity house Bain. However Bain offloaded the business to Torque Brands, an investment vehicle established by SCP Private Equity, in April 2020 just after the pandemic struck.
Torque Brands was headed by Simba Sleep co-founder James Cox and was backed by former Asda boss Allan Leighton. It stated that its ambition was to create a group, based on acquisitions, for heritage brands that were ripe for digital transformation. It had been linked with a potential purchase of Jaeger from Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, which ended up being acquired by Marks & Spencer.
Shortly after its acquisition of TM Lewin, and as lockdowns drove the working from home movement, the business began negotiating with landlords on its 66 UK stores warning permanent closures would be necessary if rents could not be lowered. The business was then placed into administration June 2020 and was re-acquired by Torque Brands in a pre-pack deal. All of its stores were then closed and the business was relaunched as a digital brand.
However the business continued to struggle with reports emerging earlier today that a second collapse was on the cards. It has now been confirmed that Will Wright and Chris Pole from Interpath Advisory have been appointed joint administrators.
Will Wright said in a statement: “Over the course of the pandemic, men’s apparel - and formalwear in particular – has been one of the hardest hit parts of the retail sector, as work-from-home measures and restrictions on events meant demand for suits and formal tailoring waned.
“Unfortunately, and despite the Company undergoing a significant restructuring 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 a sale of the business and its assets.”
Torque Brands has no connection to retail supply chain specialists Torque Limited.