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City shirtmaker TM Lewin in shop window for £100m after profit fall

  • @Thompj

TM Lewin, the 115-year-old City shirtmaker, could go up for sale for as much as £100m, having spoken to potential advisers over strategic options for the business.

The retailer has held talks with advisory firms over the past month about taking on the mandate to sell the chain, which has traded from London's upmarket Jermyn Street since the 19th century.

TM Lewin has delivered a mixed profitability in recent years, but has expanded to 95 stores in the UK and 42 overseas, from Czech Republic and Malaysia to Australia.

The group saw its underlying profit fall by 18.4 per cent to £12m over the year to March 2012, on record revenue of £106.5m. TM Lewin blamed the profit fall on higher costs, notably a spike in the cotton price, which has since fallen.

Geoff Quinn, chief executive of the shirt specialist, has a majority stake in the retailer, while the private equity firm Caird Capital owns a minority shareholding. It has long been speculated that Caird will exit its investment before or in 2014.

TM Lewin is arguably best known for seemingly perennial four-shirts-for-£100 promotion, and in recent years has expanded its womenswear offer.

In its latest accounts, it described 2012 as a year of "vigorous change and growth, and 2013 will see consolidation and furtherance of these developments with investments in our people, skills and systems".

The company added: "The board is confident that the group can build on its specialist leadership position, expand into future growth areas and continue the success of the last 12 months."