BHS to relaunch in the UK online


The 88-year-old retailer collapsed into administration in April and was wound up in August after failing to find a buyer for the whole of company, reports The Telegraph.

However, BHS’s online and international operations were snapped up by Qatari retail group Al Mana, which already owned the Middle East franchise rights of the retail.

The toppled retailer will now be reborn online as launches on Thursday 29 September and will sell a range of lighting and home furnishing products. The company, now known as BHS International, has said it will sell around three-quarters of the retailer’s most popular products before it went bust and plans to add clothing ranges later in the year.

The online site will employ just 84 members of staff compared to the 11,000 that lost their jobs when the retailer failed.

BHS International said that at the time of collapsing into administration the international and online business, which had 1.2m British shoppers, was profitable and growing. Former owner Dominic Chapppell had attempted to buy back the website and overseas arms, despite presiding over BHS’s collapse just nine months after buying it for £1.

It is understood that Mr Chappell’s attempt was disregarded by administrators at Duff & Phelps, who oversaw the sale to Al Mana Group for an undisclosed sum.

Wissam al Mana, who is married to pop singer Janet Jackson and runs the retail conglomerate, is an expert at licensing brands including running franchise stores for Harvey Nichols, Zara and Mango across the United Arab Emirates.

Al Mana has recruited a trio of former BHS executives including David Anderson, who remains managing director, Sara Bradley as buying director and Dave West as head creative.

Mr Anderson said “we are thrilled to be relaunching this iconic brand back into the UK”.

The company said that it had rebuilt BHS’s online platform rather than inheriting legacy  IT systems which will mean that shoppers can purchase goods from a range of devices.

“Although we are starting again in the UK, we have a number of advantages over a typical start-up”, Mr Anderson said. “We are nimble and efficient, but with a great brand, strong customer base and a proven and dedicated team.”

Retail expert Richard Hyman commented on the BHS rebirth: “With knowledge from the inside track since 2000, Al Mana must know the brand inside out. The plan to focus solely on online for the UK is sensible and allows them to manage costs more tightly.”