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BHS collapse deals devastating blow to the high street

By Vivian Hendriksz

Jun 2, 2016

British Home Store's fall from grace into liquidation has dealt a "devastating blow" to the UK high street, according to retail experts. Administrators announced the impending wind down of the department store group on Thursday, five weeks after BHS collapsed into administration, after failing to secure a suitable buyer to take over the group.

A photo posted by BHS (@bhs_uk) on

"The collapse of BHS is a devastating blow to the UK high street and all the employees involved," said Richard Lim, Chief Executive, Retail Economics, an independent economics research consultancy. "This once iconic British retailer suffered from paralysis when it came to innovation and it failed to stem the loss of market share to other more agile multi-channel competitors. The business model was simply no longer fit for purpose and its product range failed to resonate with its core customer base."

Chris Field, Chairman at Retail Connections, a specialist community for retailers and initiative from Fieldworks, added: "Many retailers are in denial over what is happening in retail. There are too many players with too much stock chasing too few customers. All of which means that retail is polarising, between those who get it and those who do not. Clearly, BHS and Austin Reed are in the latter group because they did not adapt to the changes, and there are plenty more to come."

"The answer for all retailers is to get out more and see what is happening all around them; and the best place to start? Talk to customers and also to the people who understand customers – brand owners, consumer psychologists and the better research companies. Customers are dictating the future of retail and retailers who embrace that early will be the winners."

Interested in reading more on BHS, its fall into administration and its sale to Retail Acquisition? Then read our timeline below:

duffy and phelps