Business

BHS managers blame Dominic Chappell for chain collapse

BHS store Image copyright Getty Images

BHS management has blamed former owners Retail Acquisitions for the collapse of the department store chain.

Managers said that the owners had not raised sufficient funds to keep the business going.

In addition, Retail Acquisitions "did not give confidence" to credit insurers and suppliers, nine managers said in a strongly worded letter to staff.

Dominic Chappell, the head of Retail Acquisitions, will give evidence to MPs about the collapse on Wednesday.

Mr Chappell had not responded to a request for comment before publication.

The letter to staff, sent on Tuesday, praised BHS former chief executive Darren Topp, but was scathing about Retail Acquisitions (RAL).

"The inability of RAL to raise sufficient funds and dispose of key property assets hindered the management team in delivering the turnaround plan," it said.

"Any sums of financing raised or property disposals appeared to fall short of expectations. Under challenge, Dominic Chappell continuously assured us he would deliver on raising funds; this was not the case."

It said that due to a lack of confidence in Retail Acquisitions by credit insurers and suppliers, BHS could not operate under normal trading terms.

"To compensate for this, BHS needed additional funds to guarantee supplier orders, this contributed further to major cash flow difficulties," the letter said.

In the New Year, cashflow difficulties led to problems with suppliers being paid on time, and eventually, administrators were called in when BHS ran out of money, the letter added.

BHS collapse

163

stores to close

11,000

jobs at risk, including:

  • 8,000 members of staff and

  • 3,000 non-BHS employees who work in the stores

GETTY

Mr Topp, as well as Mr Chappell and other Retail Acquisitions figures, will give evidence at a joint session of the Work and Pension and Business select committees on Wednesday.

MPs will want to know how Mr Chappell persuaded former owner Sir Philip Green he was a capable steward of a company that employed 11,000 workers and was responsible for the pensions of 20,000 current and former staff.

Sir Philip, who sold BHS to Retail Acquisitions for £1 last year, will come before MPs on the two committees next week.

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