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Retail tycoon says sorry for demise of BHS

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 01:39

Retail tycoon Philip Green says he's working to fix a gaping hole in the pension scheme of BHS as lawmakers questioned him over the demise of the department store chain he sold to Dominic Chappell, a serial bankrupt with no retail experience. Hayley Platt reports.

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88 years on the high street but there's little dignity in its demise. The closure of British Homes Stores has ended in an ugly investigation into who allowed the retailer to get into such a mess. Philip Green - Chairman of the Arcadia Group best known for Top Shop - sold BHS after 15 years for just £1. The buyer Dominic Chappell was a serial bankrupt with no retail experience. SOUNDBITE (English) CHAIRMAN, ARCADIA GROUP, PHILIP GREEN, SAYING: "I just want to apologise to all the BHS people who have been involved in this and are involved and I hope that by the end of the morning we can find some sensible solutions to some of the issues." British lawmakers wanted more than that from the billionaire, who lives in Monaco. SOUNDBITE (English) CHAIRMAN, ARCADIA GROUP, PHILIP GREEN, SAYING: "Every single penny the company has made in the United Kingdom, they've paid tax. They haven't been routed through Ireland or the corporate structure. The corporate structure has been very see through." Maybe so - but 11,000 jobs are now under threat - and there's a near £600 million hole in the pension pot. SOUNDBITE (English) ANALYST AT CMC MARKETS, JASPER LAWLER SAYING: "It was lacking when he bought it but how much more should he have done to invest in it, that's really a debatable point." When BHS was profitable Green paid dividends of more than £400 million - most of them to his family. It's now being wound down after administrators failed to find a new buyer. Staff - current and past - want to know if Green should be paying them some of that money. Assurances he's working to fix the pension deficit may not be enough.

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Retail tycoon says sorry for demise of BHS

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 01:39