Sir Philip Green has succeeded in finding a buyer for high street store chain BHS which he acquired in 2000 for £200 million, taking it private, with the aim of making it “the best in the high street.” The business has been bought by Retail Acquisitions, an investment group which is led by Keith Smith.
Commenting on the sale Sir Philip Green said “I am pleased that we have found a buyer in Retail Acquisitions who wants to develop the BHS brand. Having acquired the business nearly 15 years ago in May 2000, one of my clear objectives in identifying a purchaser was ensuring their desire to take the business forward.”
BHS trades from 171 UK stores as well as international franchisee operated outlets in Europe and the Middle East and also trades online. It was originally founded in 1928 as the British Home Stores, a store chain to rival Woolworth’s, and has since been through a number of ownership changes including a period under Habitat founder Sir Terence Conran’s Storehouse plc group which also included the Mothercare chain.
The business, which rebranded as BHS under Storehouse ownership, acquired a teen fashion business Tammy in 2005 and acquired several Allders at Home branches which it relaunched as
standalone home products stores. In 2007 it launched its first transactional website. By 2009 BHS has been absorbed into Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group and as recently as last year BHS trialled the introduction of food departments in three branches with a view to roll out the offering out to a further 60 or so stores.
BHS has faced stiff competition in recent years from rising homewares businesses like Dunelm and from budget brands in the clothing sector, like Primark and Peacocks.
Keith Smith, chairman of Retail Acquisitions 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.
Terms of the sale have not been disclosed.