Torque Brands acquires menswear retailer T.M. Lewin

Wed, 13 May 2020 | BUSINESS SALE

SCP Private Equity has agreed a deal to buy London-based mens retailer T.M. Lewin through a special purpose acquisition vehicle named Torque Brands. Torque Brands has ambitions to build up a portfolio of 5-8 brands over the next 12-18 months. It is solely focused on acquiring complimentary British brands, which will be integrated onto one common shared services platform - leveraging group and platform efficiencies across the acquired businesses.

The purchase of T.M. Lewin follows the hiring of corporate finance firm Alantra to run an auction of the business in April 2020. T.M. Lewin has been mostly owned by private equity group and global credit specialist Bain Capital Credit since 2015.

Founded in 1898, the London-based menswear retailer has grown into the most prominent tailors in the UK, trading from 66 UK stores, with 700 staff, plus another 5 locations in Australia. Total sales are around £120 million.

T.M. Lewin’s brand values are craftsmanship, value for money and attention to detail. The company’s online sales have grown quickly, totalling more than 30% of the group’s revenues last year, with the brand over indexing in terms of sales in the 25 - 34 year-old demographic, positioning it well to capitalise on the growth in smart casual workwear.

SCP, a specialist private equity investor, focused on the consumer sector, is headed up by Managing Partner, James Cox; who will also act as Executive Chairman of Torque Brands. Cox is working alongside a seasoned team of investment and operating experts, who combined have led liquidity events totalling more than £30 billion in the sector.

Commenting on the announcement James Cox, Managing Partner of SCP said: "There are significant headwinds against great retail businesses in the current environment - posing a very real threat to the sector’s future."

"We wholeheartedly believe that specialist vertical-specific British brands, such as T.M. 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."

"Torque Brands has been set up by SCP to acquire a portfolio of complementary British Brands into one centralised shared services platform. It’s a big supporter of the power of brand Britain and is actively acquiring heritage homegrown talent which we see having a long and successful future."

"We very much value the brand, and look forward to building on the great work done by the team to date.”

Brad Palmer, a Managing Director at Bain Capital Credit, said: “We have supported T.M. Lewin since 2015 and, together with the team, have continued to build this venerable British brand."

"Notwithstanding the challenges facing the retail sector, and most recently from COVID-19, since our ownership the business now has a true multi-channel business in the UK across stores and online, a large and loyal customer base and an even stronger brand proposition."

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