Saturday, January 22, 2022

Major retailers express interest in acquiring former BHS and Austin Reed stores

Reports have emerged that major high street retailers such as H&M, Next, Zara, Primark and TK Maxx are in discussions to acquire some of the former BHS department stores.

According to Drapers, anonymous sources have indicated that the majority of the BHS stores will be repossessed by landlords to be divided up or redeveloped and a few retail chains have already expressed interest in either fully or partially taking over.

However, none of the major retailers mentioned above were able to confirm their plans, but Zara parent company Inditex said they were always on the lookout for new premium locations.

Meanwhile, former Austin Reed stores are being taken over by several retailers.

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Jones Bootmaker has acquired one former Austin Reed store in Harrogate, White Stuff took over stores in Ludlow, Newark, Thame and Banbury, while jeweller Fraser Hart has reportedly acquired some other unconfirmed locations.

Like the BHS estates, it is expected that many Austin Reed stores will return to landlords and according to Drapers, there have also been offers from retailers like JoJo Maman Bébé, Space NK and Waterstones.

Both Austin Reed and BHS were among the first of a wave of high street chains that have collapsed this year.

The demise of BHS in particular has continued to grab headlines due to the £571 million black hole left behind in its pension fund and the parliamentary investigation that was conducted on its two most recent owners: former bankrupt Dominic Chappell and retail billionaire and Topshop owner Sir Philip Green.

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