BHS is set to lose its battle for solvency later today after the department store chain’s 11,000 staff were informed in writing that the business was calling in administrators this morning after a last ditch effort to ‘secure a funder or a trade sale’ fell through.
Bosses had hoped to find a buyer for the struggling retailer with such as Sports Direct ready to swoop for the right price but a £571m pension black hole has proved too big a cost to swallow.
The decision to put the department store chain into administration brings forward the possibility that all 164 BHS stores could now face closure, the scale of which would place it second only behind Woolworth’s demise in 2008 as Britain’s worst retailing casualty since the recession.
Dominic Chappel, 90 per cent owner of Retail Acquisitions, assured staff that their wages would be paid this month, adding: “It is with a deep heart that I have to report, despite a massive effort from the team, we have been unable to secure a funder or a trade sale.
"I would like to say it has been a real pleasure working with all of you on the BHS project, one I will never forget, you all need to keep you heads held high, you have done a great job and remember that it was always going to be very, very hard to turn around."
BHS was sold by High Street mogul Sir Philip Green to Retail Acquisitions in the most obvious sign that not all was well with the business, first founded in 1928.