Green blames bad buying decisions
Bhs has blamed a drop in profits on bad buying decisions in women's fashion, but said that ranging had been significantly improved this year.

The fashion retailer, owned by retail tycoon Sir Philip Green, revealed operating profit of£48.5 million for the year to April 1 - down 54 per cent from£105.2 million for the same period last year. Total sales on a 52 week basis were down 1.8 per cent to£860.5 million and like-for-like sales fell 7.1 per cent.

Green said: 'The results for the last financial year are obviously disappointing. I stated at the end of last year that profits would be down significantly due to internal ranging mistakes, particularly in womenswear. This has resulted in significant increases in markdown and therefore margin erosion.'

He added: 'While the market is still challenging, we have improved the ranging significantly and this has increased year-to-date sales and margin by 1 per cent and 2 per cent above the year respectively. Present trade has been encouraging, with total sales and margin 3 per cent above the year and like-for-like sales flat over the past seven weeks.'

In the next two months, the retailer plans to open a Bhs in Llandudno and a homewares focused British Home Store in Reading. Three more British Home Stores will open next year, continuing a store programme on which£l3 million has been spent on acquiring and fitting out 10 additional stores and a further£44 million spent acquiring three freeholds in the past year.

The retailer is also testing a new format in Oxford Street, which, if successful, will be rolled out to the whole Bhs chain.