- BHS administrators to shutter 30 more stores by end of July
- Shops in Sheffield, Derby, Milton Keynes and Portsmouth among those to close
- Move leaves 700 jobs hanging in the balance
- Unions expect the majority of workers to be made redundant
BHS’s administrators will shutter another 30 of the collapsed retailer’s stores by the end of July, leaving hundreds of jobs in the balance.
Stores in Sheffield, Derby, Milton Keynes, Portsmouth, Bolton and Crewe are among the next tranche of shops that will close in the coming days.
Unions said that more than 700 staff were likely to be affected by the latest wave of closures, which have been announced just days after administrators revealed a list of the first 20 BHS stores to be shuttered.
Some staff could be redeployed to other stores that remain open for trading, but it is likely that the majority of the affected workers will be made redundant.
It comes just days after administrators Duff & Phelps revealed a list of the first 20 BHS stores that would be closing, including sites in Ashford, High Wycombe, Warrington and Newport.
All of those 20 stores will cease trading by tomorrow.
Dave Gill, national officer at shop workers’ union Usdaw, urged former BHS owner Sir Philip Green to take on the staff who are poised to lose their jobs.
Gill said: “This is terrible news for the staff in the stores affected, on top of the 20 stores that are closing this Saturday.
“Our hope is that other retailers, including Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, will offer employment to these experienced, dedicated and loyal staff who suddenly find themselves unemployed.
“At the same time, we are aware that the administrators are continuing to seek a buyer, who will hopefully be able to secure the future of the staff in the remaining stores.”
The latest wave of closures comes as MPs prepare to unveil their report into the 88-year-old retailer’s collapse, which came just one year after Green sold the business to Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions consortium for a nominal £1.
Both Green and Chappell are expected to be criticised by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and the Work and Pensions Committee, which carried out a joint inquiry into the circumstances surrounding BHS’s sale and subsequent administration, which put 11,000 jobs at risk.
Labour MP Frank Field, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee, has demanded “a very large cheque” from the Green family to plug the £571m black hole in the retailer’s pension scheme.
Green had previously pledged to “sort” the pension deficit when he appeared before the joint committee, but later demanded an apology for Field’s “shocking and offensive” remarks about his family and other Arcadia directors, after the MP accused them of “nicking money off other people”.
Last week Green claimed he put £421m into BHS during his 15 years at the helm, which almost exactly matches the £423m in dividends that was paid to his family and other shareholders between 2000 and 2004.
Usdaw’s Gill added: “We remain concerned that there is still no news from Sir Philip since he promised to sort the pension scheme, and we wait to hear details of what he proposes.”
The next 30 BHS stores to close
Weston Super Mare