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TM Lewin shrugs off pricing pressure to post record sales

Shirt retailer TM Lewin is confident about the year ahead after reporting a record first quarter, despite looming pricing pressure and uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the emergency Budget.

TM Lewin posted a 10% rise in EBITDA to £14m for the 52 weeks to February 28, on sales up 7% to £83.4m. It also reported a bumper first quarter with sales up 27% in the three months to May 28.

Chief executive Geoff Quinn said TM Lewin would not alter its four shirts for £100 pricing architecture, despite pressure on rising input costs. Quinn added that the retailer would offset price increases across the board by reviewing the pricing of its ties and socks.

He remained bullish about prospects for the remainder of the year, despite impending job cuts in the public sector. “We offer value and we are hoping that some of the cuts actually help us - people will be looking for value,” he said.

The 79-store UK business will open nine stores this year in locations such as Watford and Blomfield Street in the City of London. It has five franchise stores in Singapore and within the next year plans to increase this to eight and move into Malaysia with five franchise stores.

The company has also gone head-to-head with rivals Moss Bros and Charles Tyrwhitt by offering a made-to-measure suit service. The service, which launched last month at its Jermyn Street store in London, will be extended to 15 stores in September. The suits, costing from £399 to £699, are available in 250 fabrics as well as a range of cuts and linings.

TM Lewin will also boost its online presence with a redesign of its website in September and is trialling a click-and-collect strategy at its Canary Wharf store.

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