London-based shirtmaker TM Lewin is reportedly up for sale as the fashion retail and brand sector continues to suffer from the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The 122-year-old brand is said to be in talks with potential buyers, with interested parties asked to submit offers this week. TM Lewin, which has been controlled by Bain Capital since 2015, is looking to offload the business quickly due to the challenges posed by the pandemic. The auction for the company is being managed by corporate finance firm Alantra.

TM Lewin, known for its high-quality shirts and formal attire, currently operates 66 shops in the UK and five in Australia. Unfortunately, all of these physical stores are currently closed due to the ongoing pandemic, severely impacting the company’s revenue. This forced TM Lewin to furlough around 650 out of their 700 staff members, who are now receiving their wages through the UK government’s job retention scheme. The remaining 50 staff members are in charge of managing the company’s online operations and supply chain.

The struggles faced by TM Lewin are not unique to the brand. Other retail companies such as Laura Ashley, Oasis/Warehouse, Cath Kidston, and Debenhams have also been significantly affected by the crisis. Footwear retailer Office is also up for sale, showing the challenging times faced by the sector. Even the Harpenne label, supported by River Island, has ceased trading.

In the fashion industry, analysts predict a wave of mergers and acquisitions as companies seek new ownership. Private equity bidders are likely to take advantage of discounted brands in the current market climate. The impact of the coronavirus crisis has put immense pressure on the retail sector, forcing companies to reassess their strategies and adapt to the changing consumer landscape. It remains to be seen how TM Lewin and other struggling brands will navigate this challenging environment and find new owners to ensure their survival.

Useful Links:
The Guardian – TM Lewin Looks to Close Stores with Loss of 600 Jobs
BBC News – Retail Jobs: Seven Things Changing Since the Lockdown