End of an era as flagship BHS store closes

It will be the end of an era tonight when one of BHS' flagship Lancashire stores finally closes it doors.

Saturday, 23rd July 2016, 8:18 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:11 pm
BHS Preston

​The collapsed fashion, furniture and homeware chain is in the process of shutting down its 162 stores.

And today was the last day of trading for the branch in Fishergate, Preston.

The branch will be one of the first BHS stores to close, after a buyer could not be found for the struggling company.

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In Fishergate yesterday, the shelves were emptying rapidly as most items were being sold off at half price or less.

One shopper said: “It’s sad, but I suppose it has had its day.”

It is not yet known whether another tenant will replace BHS in the landmark store in the heart of the city centre.

The chain began its gradual disappearance from the high street last month after administrators failed to find a buyer for the chain.

Administrators Duff & Phelps estimate 8,000 permanent jobs are likely to be lost across the country.

Another 3,000 not directly employed by BHS are also thought to be at risk.

Preston multi-millionaire Yousuf Bhailok entered into talks to save BHS but later withdrew.

Mr Bhailok said he had hoped to revive about three quarters of the company’s stores, excluding the 40 heavily loss-making branches.

He later backed out, saying he would now be leaving it to “other higher bidders”.

BHS collapsed into administration in April, leaving debts of more than £1.1bn, including a £571m pension deficit.

Dominic Chappell had bought the BHS chain from Sir Philip Green for £1. Now MPs are demanding answers about that deal and the resulting pensions “black hole”.