BHS’s new owners’ plans for the ailing department store group include refreshing stores, widening the product categories to include electricals and building the overseas business.
Retail Week understands that Retail Acquisitions, which acquired BHS last night from tycoon Sir Philip Green for an undisclosed sum, intends to invest in BHS stores, including adding more concessions other than Arcadia brands. At present BHS operates concessions for Arcadia brands including Miss Selfridge and Evans.
A well-informed source indicated BHS would seek to bring in more concessions across fashion, home, food and electricals. It is thought Retail Acquisitions is not planning any store closures at present.
Retail Acquisitions is thought to have been in talks with former Thomas Cook boss Harriet Green about joining loss-making BHS as executive chairman. The owners are also understood to be in discussions with a “handful” of other candidates about the role.
Retail Acquisitions is also thought to see scope to roll out BHS’s food offer, piloted last year last year as well as develloping overseas stores. BHS operates 88 franchised stores across countries including Russia and Malaysia. “The BHS brand travels quite well,” the source said.
The new owners are also likely to make more of BHS’s website, which is thought to attract 5 million unique visitors a month.
Sir Philip Green said as he unveiled the deal: “The business is handed over in a sound financial position with significant cash balances and banking facilities in place. I am confident that Retail Acquisitions have a platform to grow the business and return it to profitability.
“Most of the senior management have been with BHS for a long time and know the business very well – I am confident that they will work seamlessly with the new owners to achieve the very best for BHS.”
Retail Acquisitions chairman Keith Smith said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into this iconic British high street brand. We are convinced that with strategic and focused support we will return BHS to profitability, and safeguard the workforce.
Little is known about Retail Acquisitions. The company was set up in November and lists Lennart Henningson and Dominic Chapelle as directors, as well as Keith Smith, who has chief executive of corporate financier Nabarro Wells.
Retail Acquisitions declined to comment.