Arcadia Group made special off-the-record payments to 200 of its staff at BHS headquarters during the department store chain’s collapse.
An investigation by the BBC has found that Sir Phillip Green’s Arcadia Group, which owned BHS prior to its collapse under Dominic Chappell, paid more than £2 million to BHS staff members while it fell into liquidation.
Despite a spokesman for Green saying these payments were made to encourage staff to stay while the company found a buyer, BBC’s Panorama revealed that staff were informed of the payments on June 2, the same day the company announced a buyer could not be found.
Green’s spokesman later added that the payments may have been delayed.
The payments were transferred directly into staff bank accounts and did not appear on salary pay slips. Some staff dubbed them “Phillip bonuses”.
During the parliamentary committee into the collapse of the former retail giant, which left 11,000 people unemployed and 22,000 with a £571 billion pension deficit, Green said the first time he considered selling BHS was in 2014.
Last night Panorama also revealed Green considered selling the company seven years prior to this, going as far as to name his price and send his chief financial officer to a meeting. He maintained there was no sales process.
Both Green and Chappell are under intense scrutiny from three major investigations, and the Serious Fraud Office have been probing the company’s collapse for some months.
Last month BHS relaunched as an online-only store selling a reduced range of best sellers from the once popular brand.