TM Lewin collapses into management for the second time with all jobs at risk

Shirt maker TM Lewin has collapsed for the second time since 2020, as demand for suits and workwear fails to recover following the end of all pandemic restrictions.

A branch of TM Lewin on Oxford Street, central London

Shirt maker TM Lewin has taken the helm for the second time in less than two years.

The 124-year-old brand has appointed bankruptcy experts at Interpath Advisory, putting 50 jobs at risk.

The menswear company, best known for its workwear, has been online only since 2020, after suffering a financial shock at the start of the pandemic.

The government in June of that year led to the close all 150 shops on the street.

It was rescued by Torque Brands, a division of the massive US-based private equity firm Stonebridge, and currently employs about 50 employees, who are currently at risk to the company. job.

Will Wright and Chris Pole of Interpath Advisory, joint administrators, said that since the acquisition, the business “continues to be negatively impacted” by pandemic restrictions on large events and meetings. Social gatherings have reduced the demand for their shirts.

“During the pandemic, menswear – and formal wear in particular – has been one of the hardest hit areas of the retail sector, because of working measures,” said Wright. at home and restrictions on events mean demand for tailoring and apparel has waned. ”

He added that although “significant restructuring at the start of the pandemic caused it to shift to an online model, the impact on this popular British brand has been severe”.

The general administrators are currently aiming to sell the business. Potential buyers may include Marks & Spencer and Next.

Next has entered into agreements to run UK companies Victoria’s Secret lingerie brandfell into administration in 2020, and casual clothing retailer Gap, closed all of its UK stores last year.

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TM Lewin, founded in 1898, was initially for sale just a day later the demise of the fashion chain Oasis and Warehouse in 2020.

At the time, they said they couldn’t pay the store rent.

The shirt maker’s assets were acquired by Torque Brands owner Stonebridge through a pre-bundle agreement.

The company at the time said it couldn’t afford the rent and other expenses for its stores, which have all closed since March. It cites the pandemic for its decision to stay away from physical stores.

“This forces us to focus on a radical overhaul of our business model, rebuilding it from the ground up in a way that we think is right for years to come,” a spokesperson at the time said. know.

Torque is led by Simba Sleep co-founder James Cox and backed by former Asda bosses Allan Leighton and Paul Taylor, who previously ran Harrods.

A Torque spokesperson said at the time: “We are committed to selling quality tailoring to a global audience, but importantly, in a financially sustainable way.

“The decision to significantly downsize the business to preserve its future will unfortunately be the loss of jobs as a direct result of the store network closures as we scale the business.”

Until the high street fell, TM Lewis was one of the most prominent names on Jermyn Street, the west end street packed with tailors and shirtmakers.

About 650 of the company’s 700 employees have been added under government control Coronavirus Job retention program.

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Fry Electronics Team

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