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UK retailer BHS goes into administration

Monday, April 25, 2016 - 01:40

Struggling British department stores group BHS goes into administration. As Hayley Platt reports it's another blow to a struggling retail sector at a time when the UK economy is facing headwinds from the looming Brexit vote.

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BHS has been a much-loved presence on Britain's high street for nearly 90 years - employing 11,000 people in 164 shops. But those jobs, including 3,000 contractors, are now at risk. The retail group has gone into administration (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN, SAYING: "You had Woolworths go, all the big stores are going and I don't want them to." (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN, SAYING: "I think it's a great shame I don't know what they've got wrong really." Part of the problem say analysts is a failure to modernise. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CONNOR CAMPBELL, RETAIL ANALYST, SAYING: "Firstly it's struggled to sufficiently update its produce to match the increase in the youth orientated nature of the high street, the high water marks ironically being the Philip Green owned Top Shop and obviously the perpetually Primark. You've also got the increase in online shopping." Philip Green - considered retail royalty in the UK - bought the chain for £200 million 6 years ago. Last year his Arcadia group sold it for just £1. There was some hope in March the group may be saved after it won support from its creditors for a rescue plan. But new owners Retail Acquisitions - a consortium of little known investors - has failed to raise enough cash. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHARLES STANLEY, CHIEF ECONOMIST, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, SAYING: "There's no question that the UK retail sector has found conditions very, very testing. Indeed I take my hat off to retailers who have been able to generate higher revenues and higher profitability." BHS - has debts of more than £1billion - including a reported pension deficit of £571 million. That pot is likely to be bailed out by the government. Less likely is the chance of finding a buyer.

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UK retailer BHS goes into administration

Monday, April 25, 2016 - 01:40