Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group puts a price on possible BHS sale

Philip Green

BHS is part of the Arcadia Group, controlled by Sir Philip, which includes TopShop, Burton and Evans, after he purchased it from Storehouse in 2000 for £200m.

Founded in 1928 in London’s Brixton, BHS has 180 stores and employs almost 12,000 staff.

But the chain has been struggling. In 2013 BHS lost £69.6m on sales of £675.7m, which was down 3.5 per cent on the previous year.

That is according to the most recent accounts available at Companies House.

An Arcardia spokesperson said: “We have had several approaches on BHS over the past few months. It is now the company’s plan to explore whether any of these can be brought to a conclusion.”

While TopShop has been a success story and has been expanding overseas, analysts say that BHS has been losing ground.

“BHS has clearly been driven into the ground by the relentless competition from Primark and by its own addiction to discounting, which has destroyed its pricing power,” said independent retail analyst Nick Bubb.

“The worrying losses at BHS now risk dragging down the whole of Arcadia, so, after a difficult autumn season, it is not surprising that the great man is now trying to cut it loose,” he added.

But the chain has unprofitable stores and the 2013 accounts show that it expected to lose more than £10m on BHS stores that were failing to cover their costs.