- Dominic Chappell claims Sir Philip Green’s dispute over pension deficit hampered turnaround plan
- Chappell faces damaging claims of his own after allegedly moving £1.5m out of BHS last week
- But Chappell has revealed that he wants to buy BHS back
- Billionaire Philip Day is also reportedly eyeing a clutch of BHS’s stores
BHS owner Dominic Chappell has hit out at Sir Philip Green after accusing the Arcadia tycoon of contributing to the retailer’s collapse.
The beleaguered department store chain tumbled into administration on Monday, days after Retail Week revealed that the business was on the brink.
Chappell, who leads the Retail Acquisitions consortium that acquired BHS from Green for £1 a year ago, lashed out at the billionaire for his role in the 88-year-old retailer’s slump.
And Chappell sensationally claimed that he would like to buy the business back, claiming: “We want to finish what we have started.”
Chappell claimed a dispute between Green and the pension regulator about BHS’s £571m pension deficit had hampered the turnaround efforts of Retail Acquisitions and chief executive Darren Topp.
Chappell told The Financial Times that Green, now one of BHS’s creditors, had blocked a £60m loan from Gordon Brothers. He said the cash injection could have allowed the business to continue trading through this week.
Chappell said: “It’s not right the way it’s gone. It was in Arcadia’s gift that this business was carried forth.”
But according to the Financial Times, sources close to Green and BHS said the pensions dispute had no impact on the department store group’s poor trading and insisted the loan would not have prevented it from falling into administration.
Chappell faced damaging claims of his own last night after the BBC reported that he had moved £1.5m to a company called BHS Sweden as the retailer slumped into administration.
BHS Sweden is said to be owned by a friend and fellow board member of Chappell at Retail Acquisitions, but it has no connection with BHS despite its name.
BHS boss Topp demanded its return last Wednesday and Thursday.
As more details emerge from behind the scenes at the embattled retailer, around 30 expressions of interest have been made in BHS since administrators Duff & Phelps were appointed earlier this week.
Chappell told The Mirror that he would like to buy up to 120 of its stores and said the retailer entering administration was “like the handcuffs have been taken off.”
And according to The Telegraph, Philip Day – the man behind Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Peacocks – has also joined the race and is mulling a move for a chunk of BHS’s stores.
If he presses ahead with any deal, Day could even keep the BHS brand on the high street.
The billionaire, who led a management buyout of Edinburgh Woollen Mill in 2001, could create a “smaller, leaner” retailer out of BHS’s existing 164-store estate, City sources said.