Retail Insider held its latest Breakfast Event this week with Geoff Quinn, CEO of TM Lewin extolling the virtues of the product above all else as he has taken the clothing firm from less than 10 stores to 150 global outlets.
Senior executives from retailers including Boodles, Monsoon Accessorize, Dobbies Garden Centres, Thomas Pink and Direct Wines were among those who heard the story of Quinn and TM Lewin – from his joining the retailer in 1980 to the present day as he pushes forward with a multi-channel global strategy.
Gathered at The Delaunay in central London the attendees heard how he had from day one focused very much on the finest of details of production and sourcing to both boost quality levels and take out unnecessary costs from the supply chain – of which there were many in the 1980’s.
He highlighted one game-changer, in 2000, when the company introduced its ‘4 shirts for £100’ promotion that still stands today and is simply too powerful a message to remove. Although this has been a tremendous driver of sales for the entry level shirts Quinn laments that it has maybe distracted the conversation away from the company discussing the high quality of its products.
Today, these products are not just about shirts as he revealed that they now account for under 50% of sales (compared with 98% when he started at the company), with tailoring (suits) 30% and womenswear a lesser 8/9%.
He admitted the latter is something of a challenge because despite it only accounting for a small amount of sales, it takes 50% of window space and around 20% of square footage in the TM Lewin stores. And because it is only a small range it lacks a little impact.
Quinn also ran through some of the company’s digital initiatives that include the recent introduction of iPads into stores, which have quickly accounted for 4% of sales and click & collect that involves 25% of online sales in the UK. The latter helps many of TM Lewin’s male customers further reduce their time spent in-store, which Quinn says is almost akin to an “SAS mission” for many of these shoppers.
These aspects have helped TM Lewin’s online sales grow to account for 25% of total group sales of £110 million – which compares with the sales of only £180,000 per annum when Quinn joined the company – but he believes there is a lot more to go for as he admits the business has not really taken full advantage of direct mail.
This will be an area of focus in the future, along with building-up the group’s casual wear, which Quinn says might drive less volume than the more formal shirts and suits but it benefits from having higher price points.
Despite the long and successful journey Quinn has been on with TM Lewin so far there are clearly a lot more opportunities for him to go for.
Retail Insider would very much like to thank Geoff Quinn for his contribution to this Breakfast Event and to the sponsors PCMS Group, K3 Retail and Webloyalty. Without their much appreciated support this event would not have been possible.