TM Lewin could see pre-pack deal to achieve store closure aims
As the new owners of TM Lewin continue to seek new deals for its retail stores, a report has suggested the company could consider a pre-pack administration in order to allow it to close as many of the shops as possible.
The company is believed to be talking to restructuring firm ReSolve and a newspaper report claimed that while it had been planning to keep a handful of stores open, its thinking now is that TM Lewin will be a mainly online brand.
The company was acquired last month by SCP Private Equity, whose execs include James Cox, ex-Harrods MD Paul Taylor and ex-Asda CEO Allan Leighton. They see it as the starting point of a portfolio of typically British brands that will sell well internationally.
The menswear retailer, which was profitable in the last year for which we have results (the 12 months to February 2019) has 66 shops in the UK at present.
It was bought from Bain Capital in May and the deal included all the shops, which seemed like a positive move at the time. But in mid-June, it emerged that the new owner was telling its landlords that most of its shops could be shut if they didn't offer attractive rent deals.
There was talk at the time of a pre-pack administration if landlords didn't play along, but that was seen as a way to achieve rent cuts. The story as reported by The Sunday Times now suggests that SCP's intentions may have evolved and the aim is to keep only a few stores open regardless.
If that's the case, it would make the venerable brand only the latest in a series of labels that have become either digital-first or digital-only as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Prominent among them is Hotter Shoes, which is aiming to boost its online operations and close the majority of its stores. Meanwhile Oasis and Warehouse have seen all their stores closing permanently as they become part of the Boohoo Group and online-only brands, like former portfolio-mates Karen Millen and Coast before them.
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