Last week, Sir Philip Green sold the BHS retail chain store for the measly price of £1, to the surprise of the retail industry. The former owner had headed the business for 15 years, among other more popular retail brands such as Topshop and Dorothy Perkins. The BHS retail chain has struggled to attract customers in the last few years against tough competitors like M&S and it has made considerable losses. Nevertheless, its new and previously little-known owners, Retail Acquisitions Ltd, are keen to take on the challenge of turning BHS back into profitable business.
The vehicle that bought BHS has former city financier, Keith Smith, as chairman, who has affirmed his commitment to rescuing the business. He will, however, need to deal with BHS’ existing £100m pension liability and a new Chief Executive with good retail experience will need to be found to head the business going forward. Given the prime location of many of BHS’ 171 stores, it is inevitable that there will be some store closures to save money, but Retail Acquisitions Ltd has no overarching restructuring plan for the chain. The new owners plan to rejuvenate the business through developing food sales as well as online retailing as well as planning to make substantial investments in store refurbishments to revitalise the brand.