A number of retailers are said to be eyeing BHS stores less than 24 hours after the ‘rescue plan’ for the department store chain collapsed.

Primark, which has 161 shops in the UK, is reportedly interested in buying up part of BHS’s 164-strong store estate.

BHS administrator Duff & Phelps said yesterday that the business would now be wound down and its stores sold after failing to find a buyer for the chain.

Head of retail agency at property advisory firm Colliers Dan Simms told the Financial Times that Next, H&M, Sports Direct and discounters such as Wilko, Poundland and TK Maxx were likely contenders for the sites. 

As Sports Direct chief executive Mike Ashley was listed as a potential buyer for all or part of BHS after the business fell into administration, it is likely that he will now return to look at the newly available stores, said Simms. 

Harper Dennis Hobbs head of retail consultancy Jonathan De Mello told City AM that the buyers for the stores may well be discount food retailers.

He said: “The food consent Sir Philip Green had secured on many of the units will make the majority of them attractive to discounters such as Aldi and Lidl, who are both looking to rapidly expand their store portfolios in as short a time as possible.”

BHS’s average store size of 40,000 sq ft to 50,000 sq ft would make it suitable for retailers such as M&S, Matalan, B&M, Dunelm and Ikea, which is trialling a range of smaller-format stores. However, M&S is not expected to take any of the stores as it is undergoing a review of its existing portfolio.

According to Simms, there is likely to be strong competition for BHS stores in busy shopping towns such as Brighton and Hastings, but some of the remaining property portfolio is in less desirable locations and in need of refurbishment.