A tale of two retailers

ANOTHER day, another tale of high street woe. Jacques Vert, the “quintessentially British” dressmaker, warned on profits after sales were hit by poor consumer confidence and the late onset of winter.

Although it has a stronger balance sheet, we think it shares the same basic problems as Alexon, which fell into administration in September: an ageing product that is too old-fashioned for the already depressed domestic market, along with a failure to sufficiently build its presence overseas.

As ever, we would advise investors to avoid the mid-market and focus on high-end retailers who are well-diversified both in terms of location and the internet.

One such retailer is privately-held TM Lewin, which specialises in selling elite shirts, ties and suits at affordable prices. It doesn’t break out like-for-like sales, but has managed to notch up total revenues of more than £100m for the first time.

We reckon it’s sensible for the firm to use stores in Malaysia and Singapore to offset lower takings back at home.