The Australian arm of T.M. Lewin has gone into voluntary administration, following the ails of its British parent company.

The menswear retailer was founded in 1898 and scaled to clinch a private equity deal in 2015 with Bain Capital.

Bain Capital leveraged debt and relied on asset sales, before COVID-19 saw it sell to a subsidiary of Stonebridge Private Equity in May.

This resulted in the closure of all 66 stores and the dismissal of 600 employees as T.M Lewin was restructured into an online pureplay.

The restructure saw T.M. Lewin Australia appoint EY’s Stuart McCallum, Adam Nikitins and Colby O’Brien as administrators.

T.M. Lewin Australia has 40 staff across in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Administrators have blamed the pandemic for the collapse.

This year, J Crew and Neiman Marcus are among US giants to file for Chapter 11, laden with billions in debt.

A report from the Center for Popular Democracy revealed 10 of the 14 largest retail chain bankruptcies since 2012 involved companies that private equity firms had acquired.

"In the last decade alone, private equity firms and hedge funds have made substantial controlling investments in over 80 major retail companies, which has drastically impacted the sector," the report read. 

"Given that private equity-owned companies are twice as likely to go bankrupt as public companies, it is unsurprising that 10 out of the 14 largest retail chain bankruptcies since 2012 were at private equity-acquired chains."

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