‘So sad for all their staff’ – BHS to vanish from Stevenage town centre after more than 40 years
- Credit: Archant
Town centre fixture BHS is to vanish from Stevenage for good after more than 40 years following the collapse of a rescue deal to save the chain.
The department store, which first opened its doors in The Forum in 1975, is to close as soon as stocks run out over the next few weeks.
About 11,000 workers are to lose their jobs nationwide, at 163 sites. Contacted by the Comet this morning, a BHS spokeswoman was unable to confirm how many work at the Stevenage store.
Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor tweeted yesterday: “So sad for all their staff, so badly let down by their company.
“Thinking especially of our Stevenage BHS team today.”
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The failure of BHS has been called the largest in the retail industry since Woolworths’ demise in 2008.
Administrators will wind down the business and close all of its outlets.
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The Stevenage branch had been rated as ‘under performing’ in a review of 52 BHS stores last year, prompting speculation that it might be closed or sold off to help cover the chain’s debts – but a year later later the entire business has succumbed.
Sir Philip Green, who also owns Topshop and Miss Selfridge, sold BHS to a consortium headed by Dominic Chappell for just £1 in March 2015 after it recorded a £21 million loss the year before.
The firm has been left with a £571 million pension deficit.
Green and other investors collected more than £580m in dividends, rent and interest payments during his ownership of the firm, while Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions group received millions in salaries and management fees.
The chain, originally known as British Home Stores, was established in London in 1928.