// One quarter of BHS stores remain vacant four years on
// The company is searching for new occupiers for its 160 sites across the UK
A quarter of BHS stores have reportedly remained vacant in the past four years since the company collapsed.
At least one in four BHS stores are currently vacant on the high street, after the 88 year-old department store chain closed its last remaining stores in August 2016, BBC News reported.
However, it is understood that searching for new occupiers for its 160 sites across the UK has been a strenuous process.
- Ex-BHS director Lennart Henningson handed 5-year boardroom ban
- Ex-BHS owner Dominic Chappell ordered to pay £9.5m to pension schemes
The Local Data Company (LDC) found that just under half of the sites have been reoccupied, with the rest having been demolished.
LDC said the Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the search for occupiers due to a lack of demand for new units.
Meanwhile, department store chains including the likes of John Lewis and Debenhams announced closures in recent months as part of cost-saving strategies.
In 2015, a year before BHS collapsed, Arcadia tycoon Sir Philip Green sold the business to businessman Dominic Chappell for £1.
Most recently, BHS sold its property on Chapel Street in Southport for £500,000, with the buyer understood to be local.
While most of BHS units are large-sized with multiple floors, fast fashion retailer Primark has occupied 20.9 per cent of its stores since its administration.
Next has taken on four former BHS sites, while B&M, H&M and Poundland have also bought some sites.
Some sites are being completely repurposed, such as plans in Stevenage’s town centre to convert an old BHS site into 277 new flats.
In Telford, BHS has been replaced by a new indoor inflatable theme park.
Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, a former BHS store is due for a £40 million redevelopment early next year.