Thomas Pink up for sale as Covid-19 hits demand for office shirts

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uxury goods giant LVMH is understood to have hoisted a for-sale sign over Thomas Pink, the City’s go-to shirt brand, as demand for office wear tumbles through the Covid pandemic.

Thomas Pink shops, websites and social media have been shut and its owner is seeking bidders for the brand.

The Evening Standard understands potential purchasers have been approached to view financial information in a data-room opened last week.

Thomas Pink, which was founded in 1984 by three Irish brothers – James, Peter and John Mullen –  re-opened its Jermyn Street flagship when lockdown was lifted in June but it was closed again several weeks later.  The storefront is now covered over with black hoardings.

Its Madison Avenue New York store is also closed, along with branches at Heathrow’s terminals 2 and 5.

One potential bidder said the sale did not include any stock, although there was a revenue stream from a venture with lingerie group Victoria’s Secret.

“It’s just a brand purchase, really. Everything else has gone,” they said.

LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton and Fendi, declined to comment. Fashion sources said Pink was “a pinprick” for such a large organisation.

The firm was rebranded to Pink Shirtmaker back in November 2018 as it looked to reposition itself into a more upmarket tier.

A relaunch took place in 2018 but accounts for Thomas Pink Limited show revenue decreased to £12.2 million in 2019, from £15.4 million the prior year. Losses widened to £41 million from £23.9 million. It had a number of one- off costs relating to some site closures.

However, in the accounts signed off in September it said it was “confident” it could “face the challenge [of Covid] in the best possible way.”

The Jermyn Street store is shuttered and closed

/ Jeremy Selwyn

Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics, said: “The apparel sector is under immense pressure as restrictions around social interaction has completely undermined the demand for new outfits.”

He added: “There has been pockets of resilience with lounge wear seeing stronger demand as many of us continue to work from home. But the flip-side is that demand for business attire has been decimated. 

“What’s more, footfall remains significantly down on last year and spending across city centre locations is just a fraction of what it was. Businesses reliant on sustainable levels of city centre footfall remain under intense pressure.”

Moss Bros last month said it was launching a company voluntary arrangement proposal after work-from-home and bans on large gatherings had a “savage” impact on the retailer.

The chain, which has 128 stores,  is pursuing the CVA to restructure its fixed cost base. The model is a way of seeking rent cuts, changes to leases, or closures.

Moss Bros is looking at potentially exiting up to 24 sites and moving a number of branches to a turnover-based rent model.”

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