Covid-19: 600 job lost as TM Lewin goes online only

TM Lewin will become an online-only retailer, it has been announced today. The news follows the sale of the menswear’s online business to Torque Brands via a pre-pack administration.

The deal means that TM Lewin’s 66 high street stores will close permanently, with 600 jobs lost in the process.

Resolve, the boutique business advisory and investment house, was hired to restructure the business by SCP Equity, who purchased TM Lewin from Bain Capital last month after it fell into administration. The restructured retailer has now been bought back by SCP Equity Subsidiary Torque Brands. After a review of the business and in the light of the problems faced by high street retailers during Covid-19, it was decided that it is only feasible for TM Lewin to continue trading online.

Cameron Gunn, senior partner at ReSolve commented: “We are pleased to have been able to save the online business of this great British retail brand at a time when the high street is experiencing such difficulties and many brands may disappear completely.”

Earlier today, the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail index reported that online retail sales continued to grow at unprecedented levels in the week commencing 14 June, when non-essential stores began reopening. Despite this easing of lockdown restrictions, physical retail is continuing to struggle. Casualties so far during the crisis include Oasis and Warehouse. And last week, shopping centre owner Intu announced it has entered administration, putting the jobs of its 2,500 staff and the 130,000 roles its wider chain supports into doubt.

In April, Cath Kidston announced it was closing its 60 UK stores after a deal was agreed to save its online business but not its shop network following its administration.

With consumer behaviour appearing set to shift online permanently as a result of Covid-19, it is likely that other retailers may decide to abandon physical stores and focus on eCommerce over the coming year.