The shirtmaker Charles Tyrwhitt is plotting a takeover of rival TM Lewin as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates a shake-up of Britain’s fashion retailing sector.
Sky News understands that Charles Tyrwhitt, which was established in 1986 by owner Nick Wheeler, is among a number of parties which submitted offers this week for TM Lewin.
Details of Mr Wheeler’s bid were unclear on Friday, including his interest in retaining his rival’s brand.
Charles Tyrwhitt trades from just over 40 stores in the UK and internationally.
Several other bidders are understood to be involved in the TM Lewin auction, which is being run by Alantra, a corporate finance firm.
TM Lewin, another London-based shirtmaker, was founded in 1898.
Bain Capital, the private equity group which has backed TM Lewin through its debt investment arm since 2015, has been working on plans to offload the business for several weeks.
TM Lewin, which trades from 66 stores in the UK and five in Australia, is renowned as one of the most prominent names on Jermyn Street, the west end street populated by tailors and shirtmakers.
Approximately 650 of the company’s 700 staff have been furloughed under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The sale process makes TM Lewin the latest in a string of fashion retailers to explore a change of ownership during a period of extreme financial uncertainty.
Cath Kidston, Debenhams and Oasis and Warehouse Group have all called in administrators in the last month.
The owner of Office, the shoe retailer, is also canvassing interest from potential buyers.
Charles Tyrwhitt and TM Lewin declined to comment.