Arcadia’s Philip Green sets up for a food fight

Kasmira Jefford
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SIR PHILIP Green is plotting to take on supermarkets and long-time rival Marks & Spencer by launching food outlets in up to 150 of his BHS stores.

The retail tycoon said yesterday that he has drawn up plans for convenience food stores within BHS and will make a decision by the end of the year whether to push ahead.

Around 150 of BHS’s 183 stores have permission to sell food, and many of the stores already have cafes.

The move would put it in direct competition for customers with Marks & Spencer as well as supermarkets, which are aggressively expanding into the convenience sector, now worth £160bn a year.

The plans were announced as Sir Philip’s fashion empire Arcadia reported a 3.7 per cent fall in underlying sales in the last 10 weeks, as the unseasonably mild weather hit sales of autumn and winter clothing.

Pre-tax profit rose from £104m to £481m in the year to 31 August after selling a 25 per cent stake in Topshop and Topman to investment group Leonard Green for £350m.

Arcadia, which also owns the Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans brands, said total sales rose 2.2 per cent to £2.74bn, while like-for-like sales fell 2.7 per cent.

The group is to open a further 161 new stores this year overseas after launching 127 new outlets last year through its franchise partners.

In the UK, 20 stores per brand will be given a make-over this year to help boost sales.