The 122-year-old shirtmaker TM Lewin, which also sell shoes, suits and ties, has become the latest retailer to collapse into administration – with 600 jobs axed but will maintain its online platform.
The firm blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the move to digital-only as it could not afford to pay rents after stores shut in March.
It is the latest retail victim of the crisis, following the owner of Britain’s biggest shopping centres Intu Properties which went into administration last week.
A TM Lewin source told MailOnline an email was sent to staff 25 minutes before a Microsoft team meeting to tell them they were being made redundant.
The woman, who worked for the company, said the conference lasted four minutes with 110 staff on the call.
She said the meeting was held by the new owner of TM Lewin, Torque, with group transformation CEO James Doyan hosting it.
She added: ‘There was no chance for anyone to ask questions or have any say. We were told to mute ourselves and turn off our cameras for the meeting.’
Investor SCP Private Equity bought TM Lewin through acquisition vehicle Torque from private equity owner Bain Capital in May.
Resolve, which has been hired to restructure the business, said: ‘This acquisition secured the future of the brand at a time of unprecedented uncertainty within the retail sector.
‘After considerable review, and due to the many issues currently being experienced by high street retailers, it has been determined that the future of the TM Lewin brand will be online-only.’
The coronavirus pandemic has battered high street stores as only essential shops – such as supermarkets – have been permitted to stay open.
It has led to a slew of companies going into administration as footfall plummeted in retail centres nationwide.
A spokesman for TM Lewin told the Telegraph: ‘[The pandemic] has forced our hands to focus on a radical overhaul of the business model, rebuilding from the ground up in a fashion we deem fit for the years to come.
‘We are committed to selling quality tailoring to a global audience, but crucially in a financially sustainable fashion.
‘The decision to significantly reduce the scale of the business in order to preserve its future will regrettably result in job losses as a direct result of the closing of the store network as we right-size the business.’