Retail round-up on May 20, 2016: Matalan founder believed to be ahead in the race to buy BHS and Gap set to close its Old Navy stores in Japan.
Matalan tycoon tables bid in the range of £60m-£75m to buy BHS
Matalan founder John Hargreaves is thought to have tabled an offer somewhere between £60m and £75m to buy collapsed high street chain BHS out of administration as the contest enters its final stages,.
The bid from a consortium fronted by Hargreaves and Select Fashions owner Cafer Mahiroglu is for the business and an estimated £40m-£50m of unsold stock, The Guardian reported.
A well-funded European investor is believed to be their only real competitor after Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley tabled a “low-ball offer” and Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day stepped back.
Meanwhile, former BHS owner Sir Philip Green looked to put the department store retailer into administration before selling it last year, according to a written statement by Lord Grabiner.
He said the deterioration in the business was so severe between 2009 and last year that the only practical alternative to a sale was going into administration, The Times reported.
Gap to close 53 Old Navy stores in Japan to save costs
Clothing retailer Gap is poised to shut down all of its 53 Old Navy shops in Japan in an attempt to save costs after it reported a sharp plunge in its first-quarter profits.
The struggling retailer also aims to focus Old Navy on the US market as well as China and Mexico.
Gap said in a statement that Japan "remains an important market" though with the continued presence of its Gap and Banana Republic stores.
Overall, the fashion business will close 75 stores outside of North America, including some of its Banana Republic outlets.