BRITISH Home Stores (BHS) is coming back to UK high streets two years after its last shops closed for good – but only at four locations.
The brand will have concessions in four Beales department stores – a small chain of privately-owned shops with only 21 branches in the UK.
Beales chief executive Tony Brown worked as retail director of BHS for eight years and tried to buy it before its collapse, so the partnership is a long time coming for him.
He told The Sun that there could be up to 15 concessions by next year if the collaboration is a success.
The first concessions within Beales stores in Mansfield, Peterborough, Skegness and Bournemouth opened this week.
Mr Brown told The Sun: “BHS was fundamentally a stalwart of the high street.”
He added: “When we went to see the products, we saw they’ve been designed and made exceptionally well, and there’s a missed opportunity in that market.”
Ranges vary from store to store, with Mansfield only selling BHS ladies’ clothing, Bournemouth selling men’s and ladies’ wear, Peterborough selling men’s, ladies’ and lingerie, and Skegness selling just ladies’ clothing and lingerie.
Mr Brown said that shoppers should expect better quality BHS items on sale than before the brand’s collapse in 2016.
It will also launch BHS lighting and kids’ wear in some stores next year.
He also pointed to the decline of the high street reducing the variety of shops on offer for customers, which he hopes the return of the BHS brand in four towns will help solve.
But the brand’s return is limited – a big change from when it was on almost every UK high street.
Even when it collapsed in 2016, the chain had 160 shops.
The brand fell into administration after 88 years on British high streets after disgraced tycoon Philip Green sold the business to former bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015.
MPs at a parliamentary inquiry found that Green’s decision to sell the business led to the collapse of the brand, which affected 11,000 jobs and 22,000 pensions.
Until June, BHS’s Qatari Al Mana Group owners – which bought the brand in 2016 during its administration – ran a website selling the brand’s products online.
The website now says that the “lights will be back on soon”.
Bringing back old high street brands hasn’t always worked.
Shop Direct bought the rights to Woolworths when it went into administration in 2008 and ran a website selling products for six years it merged with its Very.co.uk brand six years later.