BHS brand is losing its homeliness to high street rivals - Brand Index

Stephan Shakespeare
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BHS struggles to compete in the crowded marketplace
BHS is one of Britain’s most recognisable retailers, but has experienced troubles in recent years, prompting Sir Philip Green to sell the company for £1 to Retail Acquisitions.

The new owner is already looking into the possible closures of a third of the chain’s 171 stores.

YouGov BrandIndex underlines the difficulty BHS has had competing in the crowded marketplace. Our Purchase Intent Metric (if a respondent is likely to buy a brand’s product) shows that BHS is losing out to other retail giants such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencer.

BHS’ average Purchase Intent score since the turn of the year is 1.4 per cent, compared with Debenhams’ 5.9 per cent and Marks and Spencer’s 22.2 per cent.

BHS appears to have a problem of branding, too. YouGov’s Quality Metric says its score is 12.3, whereas Debenhams’ is 38.8 and M&S’ is 59.5.

YouGov profiler suggests the regular BHS shopper is an over-50s woman, but even in this demographic it is losing out. Our Purchase Consideration measures if respondents would consider buying a product from a brand.

Again, since the turn of the year, M&S is way ahead with an average score of 67.5 per cent followed by Debenhams’ 38.9 per cent and BHS’ 28.5 per cent.

A modernisation of its dowdy image would help BHS’ cause greatly. Its key demographic is becoming more aspirational, especially in its clothing choices and BHS needs to respond to this. This encompasses both design of the items and store layout.

It has also been said that BHS is suffering from “middle-market malaise”, and is not appealing to a broad enough section of the public. How the new owners tackle this will decide whether this once central pillar of the high street remains a part of it.

Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov

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