Over half of BHS stores still vacant two years after closure


Research from the Local Data Company (LDC) has found over half of BHS’s stores are still unoccupied, without deals in place for new tenants to move in.

Of BHS’s final 159 stores at the time of its closure in summer 2016, 84 are still standing empty.

Only twelve BHS stores have been re-let in the past year, with LDC’s data finding 96 of the department stores’ shops empty without a new tenant or redevelopment in the works this time last year.

Now three stores are under development, two have been demolished, two split into separate units and one merged into an adjoining unit.

Primark has taken on seven BHS stores, while B&M Bargains took six, Poundland five and Next and Sports Direct took four each.

Meanwhile Scotland has the highest percentage of BHS stores still vacant, with 14, or 87.5 per cent, while the North East has the lowest vacancy rate of 25 per cent, equivalent to just two empty stores.

The figures come as BHS’s legacy still looms large on the retail industry.

Last week, The Pensions Regulator released a report stating Dominic Chappell knew BHS was insolvent when he bought it for £1.

The regulator is still working to secure a £9.5 million payout from Chappell to plug the remaining hole in its pensions scheme for BHS employees.

Chappell has responded, arguing “Had they [PwC] done their job correctly we would never have touched BHS with a barge pole.”

Chappell’s re-trial of the case is due in September.

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