TM Lewin has launched its new concept store at 268 Oxford Street in London – it is intended to reposition the business from a shirt retailer to a menswear brand.
The 3,000 sq ft store spans two floors. Shirting, accessories and casualwear are on the ground level and tailoring on the mezzanine. The new concept reflects the company’s strategy to better emphasise all of its categories, and casualwear takes centre stage at the entrance of the store.
The new store’s design aims to prove the brand’s credibility of product, challenge customers’ predisposed views of its depth of choice and maintain its value for money across varying price points.
“Our vision is not to move away and abandon the heritage of the brand,” chief executive Sven Gaede told Drapers. “It is to build on that heritage and to build bits onto it that are equally credible for the brand.
“The idea was that if you’re standing at the entrance you can see everything that TM Lewin is about: casualwear, shirts, tailoring and accessories. It’s the first time you can do that in our business in a multi-level store – and that’s really important.
“We’re on a real mission for customers to not just think about us as a shirt retailer, but for them to think about us as a menswear brand. If you go into any of our other stores today they’re really dominated by shirt walls. What we’re trying to do here is demonstrate something very different.”
He added: “This opens up the smart-casual category as a really exciting growth area for us, and gives us the opportunity to evolve our business so that we can become equally well known across shirting, tailoring, casual and accessories.”
In the shirting section at the rear of the ground floor, larger display shelves have been introduced.
“We bring a lot of newness into shirts, but when you only have the [traditional] pigeon holes you can’t really see newness,” explained Gaede. ”One of the key things was to make newness really apparent in the store, so we built in this shelf. The customer can see the shirt and feel it, without necessarily being intimidated about messing up the display.”
Accessories have also been given a new dedicated area, adjacent to the cash desk, to give stronger visibility to the range.
Gaede said: “We’ve never really had a home where all of our accessories were grouped together. We wanted to create a home because we’ve seen really good growth coming out of accessories. Socks have been doing really well as an add-on purchase, but they were always below eye level pinned to the front of the till. I wanted somewhere to house accessories and it will be important when it comes to Christmas and we can create a real gifting area of the store.”
The mezzanine is dedicated entirely to tailoring and was designed to create a calm atmosphere in which customers can be fitted for suits, and unusually for TM Lewin - browse accompanying items.
”Typically in our tailoring area we don’t have space to put shirts and ties and it’s kind of an obvious add on,” said Gaede. ”If you’re trying on a suit then why not have a shirt and a tie if it goes with that. It’s designed to help the customer and help us to outfit build for the customer. That’s a really powerful tool for us to have.”
The new store’s design centres around three core words for the brand: credible, surprising and delightful.
“Our vision is not to move away and abandon that heritage of the brand,” said Gaede. “It is to build on that heritage and to build bits onto it that are equally credible.”