Business

BHS: A history of a High Street stalwart

Brixton High Road, London, December 1927 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption British Homes Stores first opened for business in Brixton, south London in 1928

Department store BHS is to be wound down, meaning the end of the road for the 88-year-old retailer. All of its 163 stores will close.

Here we look at the history of BHS from its establishment in Brixton, south London to its collapse on the High Street.

1928: A group of American entrepreneurs set up British Home Stores. The first store is in Brixton and nothing in the store costs more than a shilling (5p) - double that of rival Woolworths' maximum price of sixpence

1929: The store raises its maximum price to five shillings (25p) allowing it to sell home furnishings, including drapery

1970: The firm expands steadily in the post-war era - by the beginning of the year it employs some 12,000 workers in 94 stores across the UK

Image caption Still going by its full name British Home Stores in 1975

1985: BHS begins to franchise its brand to stores around the world, to which it supplies products and support

1986: The store merges with designer Sir Terence Conran's Habitat and Mothercare to form Storehouse Plc, and the "British Home Stores" name is replaced with "BhS", then "Bhs" and eventually "BHS"

Image caption One of the various experiments with the BHS branding, seen in the 1980s

2000: Retail billionaire Sir Philip Green buys BHS from Storehouse Plc for £200m

2002: BHS becomes part of the Arcadia empire, controlled by Sir Philip, when he buys the clothing group and its Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands

2005: The store resurrects its "British Home Stores" branding, but it is losing ground to cheaper rivals like Primark

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Billionaire Sir Philip Green bought BHS in 2000 for £200m but sold it in 2015 for just £1

2015: Sir Philip sells the loss-making BHS for £1 to Retail Acquisitions led by Dominic Chappell, writing off £215m of debts in the process

2016: Struggling with debts of more than £1.3bn, including a pensions deficit of £571m, BHS files for administration. Failure to find a buyer means it will be wound down, with the loss of up to 11,000 jobs

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