It was announced yesterday that “Department store group BHS is to seek rent reductions on more than half of its estate and has warned it will otherwise be unable to meet financial obligations.” It’s going to be a tough time for many BHS staff, unfortunately. Perhaps including those locally.
The BHS chief executive is reported to have said “
BHS has divided its stores into three categories for the CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement): a group of 77, which would be unaffected; 47 which would be viable if rents were reduced to “market levels” and 40 which could trade for 10 months while negotiations with landlords were conducted to reduce rents “substantially”.
Topp said he hoped the number of stores closed could be kept to “a minimum”.
He said: “The CVA is a necessary milestone in resetting British Home Stores to ensure its long-term future as an iconic British retail brand.
“Some of our stores are loss-making as we are being charged rents that are too high relative to today’s market. The CVA will address this issue.
“Although a difficult process to go through, this sets in motion the comprehensive updated turnaround plan that we have identified, and gives British Home Stores a secure financial footing from which to grow and deliver sustainable profitability.”
But it’s a disturbing thought that BHS is the main occupant of Ashwood House in Camberley. That’s the building that the borough council acquired last summer as an investment.