• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Chic shirt maker TMLewin is the latest victim of lockdown

ByRandall B. Phelps

Mar 25, 2022

Troubled tailor TM Lewin has collapsed for the second time in two years, putting 100 jobs at risk.

The upmarket shirt maker, which had a store in Market Street, Newcastle, is falling victim to the shift away from formal wear as more and more workers embrace hybrid or home working. The business was devastated by the Covid lockdowns and has struggled ever since.

The brand, which claims to have sold 70million shirts since its London debut in 1898, had to bring in administrators after it was unable to make payment to its lenders. Lewin was rescued by Torque Brands in May 2020, but just a month after the deal was struck he was thrust into administration with £16million in unpaid debt. Torque bought out the brand and continued to operate the business online.

Read more: Empty Metrocentre Toys R Us store to be demolished

He has now placed TM Lewin back into administration, appointing Interpath Advisory advisers. He will run the business and seek a buyer for the TM Lewin brand and assets.

The pandemic had a devastating effect on many apparel companies as office workers stayed away from cities and wore casual clothes while working from their kitchen tables. The traditional men’s suit has even been dropped in favor of a formal jacket or blazer only in the annual Office for National Statistics basket, and the addition of a sports bra in the annual measure of the inflation reflects the fact that more people are working at the kitchen table and have moved to a wardrobe of casual and sportswear instead of power dressing.

Department stores have also felt the pain, with retail giants Marks and Spencer and John Lewis both announcing store closures after the lockdown. The North East was unaffected by the series of Marks and Spencer store closures last year, although the area already lost stores in Durham city center and Darlington in 2018, as part of from a previous plan.

John Lewis announced eight of its stores would not reopen last year, but its department store in Eldon Square, Newcastle was unaffected. Many other iconic clothing stores, however, disappeared after the collapse of Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire in 2020, and their stores left the main streets of the northeast forever.

Debenhams

The 241-year-old retailer entered administration in 2021 but attempts to save its stores continued in 2021. Online clothing retailer Boohoo eventually bought the Debenhams name and website as part of a £55m deal in March 2021, but that hasn’t saved shops – or jobs – in Newcastle, Metrocentre, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton

Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton were three of the main victims of the Arcadia collapse. Boohoo returned in April 2021 and bought all three brands and websites in a £25.3m deal. Physical stores, however, remained closed, including a dozen in the Northeast.

Jaeger

High-end fashion brand Jaeger disappeared from the high street in 2021. It was taken over by Marks and Spencer in January 2021 but its 63 UK stores were permanently closed.

peacocks

Peacocks fell into administration in November 2020, putting its 423 stores and thousands of jobs at risk. However, it was rescued by a group of international investors in April 2021, backed by Edinburgh Woolen Mill’s chief operating officer. About half of its stores have reopened, including those in Consett, Chester-le-Street and Washington, but the rest have closed forever.

Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge

The crown jewel of the Arcadia retail empire, its doors closed forever last year after Arcadia entered administration in November 2021 and subsequent bailouts failed. ASOS bought Topshop, alongside Topman and Miss Selfridge in April 2021 in a £330million deal to save the brands. But ASOS did not buy the hundreds of physical stores under the deal, leaving stores empty in Newcastle, Metrocentre, Sunderland and Durham.