BHS, which fell into administration earlier this year, has announced two strategic partnerships and its intention to recruit 250 new staff as the foundation of plans to enhance its offering to consumers, and return the company to “its former glory on the country’s High Streets.”
The home and clothing retailer was established in 1928 and has 171 stores across the country. It was sold to Retail Acquisitions Ltd, a new investment company, just over a month ago. Sir Philip Green pocketed £1 from the sale. The acquisition aims to support the plans of the company’s existing management team to turnaround and grow the business.
Yesterday BHS announced it has agreed contracts with Compass Group UK & Ireland, the foodservice specialist, and with food wholesalers, Booker Group plc. The deals aim to lead to an improved and enhanced customer experience in BHS stores.
Darren Topp, BHS CEO commented:
“These two strategic deals mark the start of a new journey for BHS: we aim to surprise consumers with an expanded range of products and services and to return this iconic and very British brand to the hearts of people across the country.
This strategic alliance with Britain’s best foodservice company will lead to greater investment in BHS stores, upgrading and improving the dining options for our customers. This frees up my team to focus on what we do best: sourcing and selling great home products and clothing at great prices, whilst allowing BHS to expand into the new areas.”
Eurest, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, will take over the operations of all cafes and restaurants within BHS stores as part of a multi-million pound project to upgrade BHS cafes and restaurants.
Andy Barry, Managing Director of Eurest, Compass Group UK & Ireland said:
“We’re delighted to be partnering with BHS to revitalise their restaurants and cafes, providing customers with great places to meet, eat and relax during a busy day’s shopping. We work closely with our clients to deliver innovative food offers and excellent customer service in a welcoming environment and we can’t wait to bring our concepts for BHS’s cafes and restaurants to life, enabling BHS to further enhance the customer experience.”
“We are delighted to have Booker Group alongside us as we move further into convenience food retailing. They have a fantastic track record for delivery and together we can provide a great range of products for customers. We are very excited that this expansion will allow us to seek new colleagues to join the new BHS.”
BHS has also agreed a contract with Booker Group to build on the successful piloting of convenience food retailing at its stores in Romford, Staines and Warrington. Booker Group will be the company’s exclusive food supplier as it expands convenience food retailing to a further 20 stores by the end of the summer, creating 250 jobs. BHS aims to expand this offering to other stores later in the year.
Steve Fox, Sales Director – Retail, of Booker Group said:
“We are happy to support Darren and the team with his plans at BHS for a further 20 Foodstores. The BHS pilot has confirmed that the market wants it back in convenience foods, and we are delighted to help BHS return to this heritage area.”
The expanded food and hospitality offerings join a reinvigorated range of products in BHS stores, including “market-leading” lighting, quality and well-priced stylish clothing, childrenswear and school wear, and also essential home items.