British retailer BHS has recently appointed KPMG to draw up options that will enable the company to drastically reduce its stores network and therefore improve its financial situation.

It’s worth recalling that BHS lost 85 million pounds before tax last year, after Sir Philip Green sold the fashion and homewares chain to a little-known consortium called Retail Acquisitions for 1 pound, recalls the ‘Telegraph’.

Aimed at improve the chances of its battered finances, the management team at the retailer has appointed KPMG to draw up options that will enable the retailer to drastically reduce its 170 stores network, as well as to help the restructuring of its pension scheme.

In this sense, it is noteworthy that the retailer’s new owners have been quite determined to cut down the losses, having raised a 65 million pounds loan was raised from specialist lenders Grovepoint Capital and it has raised further cash by leasing the retailer’s flagship Oxford Street store.

Meanwhile, the company is tackling its big pensions issue. "We have made no secret of the fact that like other companies we have a pension deficit that we would like to address".

In a letter to members of the scheme last March, shortly after BHS was sold, Chris Martin, chairman of the pension trustees admitted that both the company pension scheme and the senior management scheme had “large shortfalls between their assets and the amount they need to pay current and future benefits to all members”.

“The trustees will be discussing, with the new owners of BHS, the level of contributions required to make good these shortfalls and over what period of time those contributions need to be paid.”

“Given the size of the shortfalls, the trustees expect that these discussions may take many months to conclude,” he said, published the ‘Telegraph’ over the weekend.

Attempts to revive BHS have been hit by the withdrawal of credit insurance to its suppliers. Some had to stop trading with the chain after cover was pulled.

A spokesman for Retail Acquisitions said: “BHS has stated publicly many times since the acquisition that it would like to take steps to address a number of unprofitable stores. This may involve discussions with some landlords, and KPMG will help us in this process.”

“We have made no secret of the fact that like other companies we have a pension deficit that we would like to address also and we continue to take advice in relation to this complex area.

“Our turnaround plan is still in its first year. Although we still have a long way to go, we are entirely confident that we will regain our place as an iconic British high street brand.”

 

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