Private equity guru Jon Moulton considered buying BHS and Austin Reed

Shruti Tripathi Chopra
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Director of the British company Alchemy, Jon Moult
"Too hard" to revive BHS and Austin Reed, said the Better Capital boss (Source: Getty)

Private equity guru Jon Moulton has said he had considered snapping up collapsed retailers BHS and Austin Reed.

Moulton told City A.M. that he decided against rescuing the businesses as it was “too hard” to revive them.

Speaking about why BHS failed, the Better Capital founder said “tough competitive market with too much traditional retail trading space” led to the demise of the 88-year-old retailer.

He said: “BHS failed because of poor execution combined with a lack of adequate cash to buy goods.”

Read more: Timeline: How the collapse of BHS unfolded

The Better Capital founder said Retail Acquisitions, that bought BHS from Sir Philip Green for £1 last year, had “no retail skills” to run the retailer.

“The last lot seem to have had no retail skills and were not, as far as you can see, very good at extracting value for anyone.”

Moulton’s comments come as 11,0000 BHS employees were left out job after the retailer fell into liquidation today.

He went on to say that the collapse of Austin Reed, whose 120 stores will close by the end of June at the cost of 1,000 jobs, was down to the menswear retailer “not adapting rapidly enough to online competition”.

“Austin Reed suffered from unexciting products and weak systems and the owners should have reacted more and earlier to the issues,” he said.

Read more: Austin Reed employees could have their pensions bailed out

Moulton, who’s best known for backing the failed parcel delivery firm CityLink that collapsed on Christmas eve 2014, blamed the dire state of Britain’s high street on retailers stuck with “expensive leases and diminishing sales”.

Better Capital rescued luxury retailer Jaeger in 2012 and invested £63m in the firm. In November 2015, it was reported that the retailer was worth just £37m.

Moulton said that he plans to continue improving the business and then sell it.

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