Shirt and tie retailer TM Lewin ‘falls into administration’ with 600 jobs lost

About 600 workers will lose their jobs at the century-old shirtmaker TM Lewin, after the high street stalwart went into administration this afternoon.

The company is to close all 66 of its physical stores, and will only continue trading online, after a company hired to restructure the menswear company decided its high street offering was beyond saving.

It comes seven weeks after the 122-year-old retailer was bought by Stonebridge Private Equity through its subsidiary Torque Brands.

The new owner said on Tuesday that the entire retail sector faced a “very real threat”. 

“The Torque team has worked to assess all available avenues for the business model going forwards, but having done so, has formed the view that TM Lewin is no longer a viable going concern in its current format,” it said.

It added: “The decision to significantly reduce the scale of the business in order to preserve its future will regrettably result in job losses at TM Lewin, as a direct result of the closing of the store network as we right-size the business.”

TM Lewin is the latest retailer forced to make sweeping job cuts, after shoe seller Clarks said it would cut 700 jobs, Mulberry around 500, while Oasis and Warehouse employed 1,800 people when it entered administration.

Companies have struggled with an abrupt shift to online-only models after they were forced to close all of their physical stores amid the coronavirus lockdown in March.

Earlier this month, those rules were eased, allowing so-called non-essential retailers such as clothing outlets to reopen with social distancing measures in place.

“There has been prolonged and significant headwinds against retail businesses, inherent in their models, which have been starkly magnified over the last weeks, a dynamic which is posing a very real threat to the entire sector’s future,” they said.