A month after its final store closed, British retailer BHS is back – but only online and with a new name and new owners. After the store went under in June 2016, its online and international operations were bought over by the Al Mana Group of Qatar, which already owned the company’s Middle East franchise rights.
Al Mana Group – which also owns brands such as Zara and United Colours of Benetton in the Middle East – has said it had retained UK staff and suppliers to begin sales via a new web platform, BHS.com.
BHS.com – which was launched on September 29, 2016 – is a smaller operation, with just 84 employees based in London and fewer products initially on offer. The offering will be restricted to lighting, bedroom and bathroom furnishings – goods that had been popular before the chain’s collapse.
It aims to expand the ranges into kitchen, dining ware and clothing items in the coming weeks, near Christmas – the busiest time of the year for them.
The former retail giant’s online arm has been created from scratch to give consumers an uncluttered, clean e-commerce site, which is platform agnostic. BHS said in a statement that customers will be able to check out items in just two clicks.
According to a report in The Guardian: Despite BHS’s struggles, the international and online divisions were considered the best-performing parts of the retailer, and were still profitable when the department store chain collapsed.
The 88-year-old chain – which sold clothing, food and homeware – failed to keep pace with traditional rivals such as Marks & Spencer and online giants like Amazon, resulting in a major loss of market share.
When it downed shutters, operations stood at 163 stores and 74 franchise operations across 18 countries. The final 22 BHS stores closed at the end of August, 2016.