British Department Store BHS is expected to go into administration, affecting 8,000 jobs and 3,000 contractors. BHS has 164 stores and have been in business for over 88 years. The British retailer operate 4 stores in Northern Ireland in Lisburn, Belfast, Newtownabbey and Hollywood.
BHS has long struggled with the fierce competition within UK retail. In March they won the support from creditors to re-finance and structure a rescue plan, however they failed to raise the additional funds. The Retail Acquisitions acquired the stores group for £1 in March this year, from billionaire Topshop owner Philip Green. Green had previously bought the portfolio for £200 million in 2000.
In a letter to 11,000 employees on Sunday night Dominic Chappell said: “It is with a deep heart that I have to report, despite a massive effort from the team, we have been unable to secure a funder or a trade sale.” Chappell had led The Retail Acquisition Consortium who bought BHS from Greene.
Usdaw, the British shop workers union said of the situation ‘’ We are seeking urgent clarification from the company and urging them to change their attitude to trade unions and begin a dialogue with us at this difficult and worrying time for staff’’.