• The retailer has nearly completed deals with three new franchise partners
  • BHS is also looking for new partners to further expand abroad
  • The retailer said its online and international business is profitable

BHS owners have revealed that they are in the final stages of talks to expand the retailer’s international estate.

The Al Mana Group, which acquired the retailer’s international and online operations in June, said it is in the final stages of talks with three new franchise partners in Africa, Europe and the Middle East to expand BHS’s overseas bricks-and-mortar estate.

The retailer, which had 61 stores across 14 countries through partnerships with 11 franchisees when Al Mana acquired the business, will focus on differentiating its proposition for individual regions.

Managing director of BHS’s international division David Anderson said the retailer had confirmed agreements with several new partners in new countries and was “in discussion with many others” since the Al Mana Group took over.

Anderson told Retail Week: “Of the three countries we’re going into, two are emerging markets with huge populations and growing middle classes.

“They see BHS as suiting their market very well and, seeing the heritage of the brand, they are attracted to that and think it would be popular in the market.

“We have had quite a few more potential partners approach us. They look at who owns us now and they’ve already put a vast amount of money into the business and we intend to grow the business and focus solely on those international markets.” 

Plans to grow BHS’s international estate were revealed as the administrator for its UK operations, Duff & Phelps, filed a High Court petition to wind up Retail Acquisitions - the Dominic Chappell-led vehicle used to buy the department store business from Sir Philip Green in March last year.

If it wins control of the company, administrators plan to investigate a £1.5m payment used by Retail Acquisitions to pay off the mortgage of a home in Surrey.

Chappell has missed the latest quarterly repayment of BHS’s loan to Retail Acquisitions, allowing Duff & Phelps to argue that the loan is in default.

Duff & Phelps is set to make its case in court on October 31.