JML boss Ken Daly has insisted that BHS was “punished by the consumer” for failing to stay relevant to modern consumers.
The department store chain, which was one of JML’s customers before its demise, plunged into administration a year ago and disappeared from British high streets last summer after suffering seven consecutive years of losses.
Speaking at Retail Week Live, Daly admitted it was “sad” to see BHS vanish from towns and cities across the UK, but insisted it only had itself to blame for failing to “invest in their brand.”
He suggested that the move to strip “British” and “Home” from its name and switch to the BHS acronym was “the start of the decline”, as it lost it sense of provenance among shoppers and led to a drop-off in loyalty.
“If you are in the business of selling stuff, really there has never been a better time and the opportunities are enormous”
Daly said: “Yes, it was sad to see BHS go to the wall, very sad indeed.
“But they couldn’t keep their brand relevant. They didn’t invest in their brand and they didn’t remain relevant – so they were punished by the consumer.
“But their stores will be picked up by other retailers or, at the very worst, be used for something else.
“Their market share will be picked up by other retailers or, again, at worst, by other industries.
“Meanwhile the incredible advances that we’ve had in technology enables all sorts of people to get their products in front of consumers.
“If you are in the business of selling stuff, really there has never been a better time and the opportunities are enormous.”
Daly issued a three-point plan to businesses to make sure they continue to innovate: keep a close eye on trends, try new things and move at speed.
JML lives by those principles, raking in 80% of its annual revenues from newly developed products.
“We are constantly testing products and the ones that are successful we develop further, the ones that aren’t, we junk,” Daly said.
“You’ve just got to be agile and you’ve got to keep moving and finding what the latest consumer trend is.”