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Iconic menswear retailer TM Lewin sold to PE investor

TM Lewin

Iconic British menswear retailer TM Lewin has been sold by Bain Capital to private-equity company SCP through its new subsidiary Torque Brands. 

The deal, announced today, ends speculation over the brand’s future, with rival UK menswear retailer Charles Tyrwhitt tipped to be preparing a bid as recently as last week.

In Asia, TM Lewin has stores in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines.

Bain Capital bought the 122-year-old business in partnership with the company’s management in 2015, for a reputed £100 million, and sought expressions of interest a month ago.

TM Lewin is the first business to be bought by Torque Brands which plans to create a portfolio of contemporary British brands which – according to company documentation – will “share a centralised services platform”.

The company is “actively acquiring heritage homegrown talent which we see having a long and successful future,” said SCP managing partner James Cox.  

“We wholeheartedly believe that specialist vertical-specific British brands, such as TM Lewin, will continue to hold a premier position in the eyes of the global consumer, and look forward to the challenge of helping the company adapt to the rapidly changing retail landscape.”  

TM Lewin operates 66 stores in the UK, all of which are currently closed due to the Covid-19-related lockdown. About 90 other stores are located outside the UK, including in Europe, Ireland, the US, Australia and Asia, but it is not clear how many of these are company owned as opposed to operating under licensing agreements. 

While TM Lewin was founded as a specialist shirt maker, it has since expanded into suits, outerwear, knitwear, chinos, jackets, ties and accessories. In the year to March the company achieved sales of more than £120 million.

Brad Palmer, MD at Bain Capital, said that – notwithstanding the challenges facing the retail sector, most recently from Covid-19 – the business has become a truly multi-channel retailer in the UK under Bain’s ownership. 

He said the brand has “a large and loyal customer base and an even stronger brand proposition”.

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