Department store group BHS has unveiled a new-look Watford store designed to represent some of its ambitions for the future.

BHS, which was sold by tycoon Sir Philip Green for £1 to investor Retail Acquisitions in March, has enhanced its fledgling food offer and is installing it in another 20 stores.

There have been improvements to aspects of the store such as layout and product display in other categories, including fashion.

BHS has added more SKUs to its food range and launched a ‘2 Dine for £10’ meal deal – an initiative already successfully deployed by other food retailers and pioneered by Marks & Spencer. The offer comprises a main meal, side dish, dessert and a bottle of wine or alternative non-alcoholic drink.

“Our food stores are all about convenience retailing which suits our busy customer perfectly”

Darren Topp, BHS

The food range was piloted at BHS last year under Green and in partnership with supplier Booker. Green said at the time that if successful it could be rolled out more widely.

BHS chief executive Darren Topp said: “Our successful trials gave us the opportunity to gather feedback from our customers and implement new initiatives in Watford.

“Our food stores are all about convenience retailing which suits our busy customer perfectly. We look forward to great success in Watford and across the next 20 stores.” 

New logo

The Watford branch, in the town’s Intu Harlequin shopping centre, is the first to carry the new BHS logo. There is also a Claire’s Accessories concession and a new-look cafe.

BHS showed off the revamped store as it also emerged that it has arranged a £65m loan from investment group Grovepoint Capital to help fund its turnaround.

The loan is secured against some of BHS’s stores, it is understood and is being used to accelerate the turnaround rather than meet an impending rental bill. After the rental payment BHS will have working capital of more than £85m.

It emerged last month that Retail Acquisitions was in talks with various parties as it sought to raise around £70m from the City to fund its turnaround.

Former Beale’s chief executive and Moss Bros finance director, Michael Hitchcock, is acting as a consultant to Retail Acquisitions during the turnaround of BHS.