TM Lewin fashions growth plans as profits jump 7%

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The Independent Online

The shirt-maker TM Lewin to more than double its programme of UK store openings this year after its sales and profits increased last year.

Geoff Quinn, the chief executive, said the retailer would open 19 shops in the UK, including concessions and outlets in railway stations, during this financial year compared with nine in the previous 12 months.

TM Lewin opened its first five franchised branches overseas in Singapore last year. It plans to add another there and its first two shops in Malaysia this financial year. The company, which has 79 stores in the UK, is also planning to launch in the Middle East, probably in Dubai, through a joint venture, although a time frame has not been undecided.

While Mr Quinn said he was "very pleased" with Lewin's performance last year, he said it would have been better without the "extreme adverse weather" conditions in January and February. He added: "Once again, the company has demonstrated its resilience in a difficult economic environment."

For the year to 28 February, TM Lewin increased its operating profit by 7 per cent to £9m. Sales were also up 7 per cent at £83.5m. Mr Quinn highlighted impressive sales of Lewin's womenswear range and "button cuff shirts", adding that sales of tailored suits had jumped by 44 per cent. He said: "We had a particularly good year on suits."

In the past year, TM Lewin achieved a 17 per cent jump in home shopping sales, driven by a 27 per cent increase in overseas revenues. Two-fifths of its mail order and internet sales now come from foreign buyers.

During the quarter to 28 May, the retailer's growth has accelerated with total sales up by 27 per cent.

The private equity arm of Lloyds sold more than two-thirds of its 20 per cent stake in TM Lewin to Coller Capital in July, but the bank retains a 6 per cent shareholding.

TM Lewin's management owns 80 per cent of the company's shares and Mr Quinn has the biggest stake.

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