Apparel retailer T.M. Lewin Australia collapsed into voluntary administration on Thursday, days after its UK parent announced a restructuring deal that will see all its stores close indefinitely.
Stuart McCallum, Adam Nikitins and Colby O’Brien, directors of Ernest & Young’s local restructuring arm, were appointed joint administrators of T.M. Lewin Australia Pty Ltd on Thursday, according to documents lodged with the corporate regulator.
It comes just days after T.M. Lewin announced it would keep its 66 British stores closed indefinitely and lay off around 600 workers in a restructuring deal aimed at saving the business, which is known for its shirts and business attire.
McCallum said EY administrators are working with T.M. Lewin’s UK parent to chart a future for the Australian operation, amid the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are working with the administrators of T.M. Lewin in the UK to ensure the Australian business has the best chance of continuing in Australia, and the potential impact on employees, landlords and other creditors remains at the forefront of our thinking,” he said in a statement to SmartCompany.
T.M. Lewin Australia has about 40 employees in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, administrators confirmed the company is receiving JobKeeper payments.
The local business trades across three stores in Melbourne, and one in Sydney and Brisbane. It previously had concession arrangements with MYER, but administrators confirmed this relationship ended in 2019.
McCallum said the collapse of the local business was driven by the coronavirus outbreak.
“There would not be too many business people in Australia without a T.M. Lewin shirt, suit or tie in their wardrobe,” he said.
“This is another unfortunate example of a retail business which has needed to call in administrators because of the impact of COVID-19.”
SmartCompany understands private equity firm Torque Brands bought T.M. Lewin off Bain Capital in May and has brought in a company called Resolve to oversee a restructuring effort.
“T.M. Lewin is no longer a viable going concern in its current format,” said a statement from Torque, reported by the BBC earlier this week.
T.M. Lewin is not the first retailer to run into troubled times amid fallout from the pandemic in Australia.
Earlier this week, swimwear business Seafolly appointed administrators, following the earlier collapses of Tigerlily, G-Star Raw and ASX-listed PAS Group.
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