11,000 jobs to go in chain store's collapse

Bhs to close after administrators fail to find a buyer

British Home Stores Bhs
Bhs in Princes Street Edinburgh will close

Bhs has failed to attract a buyer and the department store chain will shut down with the loss of up to 11,000 jobs.

It is the biggest high street casualty since Woolworths and marks another huge milestone in the demise of names familiar to generations of shoppers.

It also comes just a few days after the collapse of Austin Reed with the loss of 1,000 jobs.

The decision to put the business into liquidation followed attempts to find a buyer after administrators were appointed in April.

A number of high profile candidates came forward, including Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, the Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain and Greg Tufnell, brother of cricketer Phil.

None was judged acceptable by administrators Duff & Phelps, who blamed “seismic shifts” in the retail sector for the collapse.

All 163 BHS stores will hold closing sales over the coming weeks as the business is wound own by Hilco Retail Services. Bhs employs about 800 staff in Scotland.

Others who expressed interest included Matalan founder John Hargreaves and Poundstretcher boss Aziz Tayub.

In a statement, the administrators said: “Despite the considerable efforts of the administrators and BHS senior management, it has not been possible to agree a sale of the business.

“Although multiple offers were received, none were able to complete a deal due to the working capital required to secure the future of the company.

“Our thoughts today are with the employees. We thank them for their professionalism and hard work. We would also like to thank the great British public for helping us in our efforts to save BHS resulting in several weeks of significant sales.

“The British High Street is changing and in these turbulent times for retailers, BHS has fallen as another victim of the seismic shifts we are seeing.

“The tireless work and goodwill of the existing management team and employees of BHS with the support of my team were not enough to change the fortunes of the company.”

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