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Sales at TM Lewin push past £100m barrier as it eyes international growth

Shirt specialist TM Lewin reported a sales increase of 20% to £100.4m, pushing past the £100m barrier for the first time in the company’s history, for the year ended February 26, 2011.

The retailer also recorded EBITDA growth of 5% during the period to £14.7m but said that gross margin was down slightly to 63.9%, reflecting the increased level of discounting in response to a challenging trading environment.

In its full year results statement, TM Lewin also reported on its sales performance in the first of this financial year, the 26 weeks to 27 August, saying that sales were up 9% to £50.4m compared to £46.2m in the same period a year earlier.

In its results statement, the shirt maker referred to trading conditions as “challenging” but said that it had enjoyed a “strong performance”, opening 16 new stores and four new concessions in the UK in the year to February 26.  

In the first half of this year the retailer opened a further two stores and two concessions but elsewhere closed four stores bringing the total number of stores operated by the retailer to 107, comprising of 100 in the UK and seven internationally.

The retailer said its sales split for the year was 87% coming from the UK and 13% coming from its international business and set out plans for its international sales to equal its current UK sales level by 2016.

The retailer said it has a “strategy for significant growth” over the medium term, focussed on international and multi-channel sales expansion as well as “maintenance of [its] leading UK market share position”.

It added to its overseas store portfolio in the year, opening a store in Sydney “which will be a platform for expansion into Asia and Australia”, the retailer said.

The retailer made three key appointments this year, hiring Mark Dunhill as international director in January; Andy McQuin as marketing director in September; and Matt Hudson as merchandise and buying director. Hudson will start his job in February.

Its international wholesale and online business represented 18% of overall sales with approximately 50% of sales in this area derived from international markets.

Menswear continues to be a major product area for the retailer, accounting for 84% of total revenues in the full-year period. The retailer also expanded its Tailoring range during the year to February 26 with it now representing 20% of total sales.

TM Lewin chief executive Geoff Quinn said: “We have made an excellent start to the current financial year with sales in the first half up 9% in a very challenging market.”

In its outlook for the rest of the year the retailer said it expects conditions to remain challenging but that it will continue to drive an “integrated multichannel shopping experience” both in the UK and internationally.

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