Sir Philip Green lets go of loss-making BHS for £1 only

 
Adam Hignett
Sir Philip Green has enjoyed his time owning BHS – and is leaving it without debts

Struggling retail chain BHS is to be sold for £1 after almost 15 years in the possession of billionaire Arcadia chair­man Sir Philip Green.

The iconic chain of department stores was founded in 1928 by Amer­ican entrepreneurs seeking emulate the success of Woolworths.

But the company has declined in recent years as it lost market share to discount competitors such as Primark, making a loss of £21m in the year to August 30 2014.

The chain is to be sold to Retail Acquisitions, an investment fund headed by former City banker Keith Smith for the rumoured sum of £1.

Analysts say the firm has around £100m in pension liabilities, but it is also in possession of prime retail estate.

Retail Acquisitions is currently in the process of seeking to appoint a chair for the department chain.

Former Thomas Cook chief executive Harriet Green was tipped for the role, however she subsequently turned the offer down.

Green bought the stores in 2000 for £200m, but has subsequently struggled to turn them around. He said the stores were being, “handed over in a sound financial position, with significant cash balances and banking facilities in place”.

He added: “I am pleased that we have found a buyer in Retail Acquisitions who wants to develop the BHS brand.

“Having acquired the business nearly 15 years ago, one of my clear objectives in identifying a purchaser was ensuring their desire to take the business forward.”

Chairman of Retail Acquis­itions Keith Smith said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into this iconic British high street brand.

“We are convinced that with strategic and focused support we will return BHS to profitability, and safeguard the workforce.”

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