T.M.Lewin, one of the UK’s leading retailers of high quality men’s and women’s businesswear, has commenced a major International expansion plan with the company opening at least one new store or concession a week for the next three years.
T.M.Lewin already has a successful overseas business with 58 stores and a strong on-line business in markets like Singapore, Malaysia and Australia where traditional British style resonates strongly. Just over half of the new openings will be in South Africa (46) and India (35) with the balance spread across the Far East (Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and The Philippines), Middle East (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Africa (Nigeria) and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic). The Group is also looking at potential expansion into China, Japan and the United States.
The UK, where T.M.Lewin has 91 retail stores and a fast growing on-line business, is still the bedrock of the company and still represents 81% of total sales. The chain is embracing the evolution of multi-channel with click and collect available in all stores and the introduction of iPads allowing customers to buy from their extended on-line ranges in stores.
Geoff Quinn, Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We have received a fantastic reception in many of our new store openings around the world. Clearly our brand is well known within the International business community and this has given us a lot of confidence with our plans."
The news of the International expansion comes as T.M.Lewin files accounts for the year ended 2nd March 2013 and confirms a strong first half result for the current year. Against the prior year, which benefitted from being a 53-week period, the result for the year ended 2nd March 2013 saw the impact of higher cotton and energy input costs which the Company chose not to pass on to its customers. Consequently, revenues were only marginally ahead at £106.7 million (2012: £106.5 million) and EBITDA, which also followed a period of significant investment in the business, was £10.1 million (2012: £12.0 million).
The current year, however, is performing much more strongly. Benefiting from lower input costs, a significantly enhanced product range and the prior-year investment in the business, particularly in womenswear, turnover in the first six months was ahead 4% and EBITDA up by 77% on the comparative period. It is expected that the result for the full year will be significantly ahead of the year ended 2nd March 2013.
Geoff Quinn concluded: “We are really pleased with our performance to date. Following on from a period of higher input costs which impacted margins, we have had a great bounce back primarily driven by very strong online sales and a whole new range of product that has caught the imagination of our customers. We are very excited about our international expansion and the opportunities it will bring.”