Owners of rebooted BHS brand have 'ambitious plans' to expand overseas
PUBLISHED: 09:23 24 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:23 24 October 2016
The Qatari owners of the rebooted BHS brand are to push the retailer through a major international expansion.
The business is on the cusp of securing deals with three franchise partners covering Africa, Europe and the Middle East as it looks to enter 10 new countries.
BHS International, which has a profitable global operation, said it will launch a new department store in Qatar and offer products better suited to its international customers.
BHS collapsed into administration in April this year, impacting 11,000 jobs and leaving a £571m pension deficit in its wake.
In June, the Al Mana Group formed BHS International and snapped up its global franchise business and brand.
David Anderson, managing director of BHS International, said the retailer’s overseas business has enjoyed “strong growth” in recent years.
“Under the new owners, we have ambitious plans to accelerate this growth, and working closely with new and existing franchise partners we are confident we can do this; since the new international business was formed in June, we have secured agreements with new partners in new territories, and are in discussions with many others.”
The announcement comes just days after MPs unanimously recommended former BHS owner Sir Philip Green be stripped of his knighthood.
The Government also called on Sir Philip to “quickly” remedy the BHS pension scheme deficit, with investigations under way into the conduct of BHS directors and the management of the pension scheme.
The Al Mana Group relaunched BHS in September by rolling out BHS.com with UK suppliers and 84 staff.
The products stocked by the online retailer were made up of around three-quarters of the most popular online items sold by BHS before it went into administration.
The firm said it plans to add clothes, kitchen and dining ware to its online store in the coming weeks.
Speaking about the international business, Mr Anderson added: “In the countries we operate in outside of the UK, visiting shopping malls and stores is very much a leisure and family activity.
“Our franchise partners have made significant investment in their stores to ensure they provide an enjoyable shopping experience for their customers. We will help them build on this by providing a greater focus on market-specific products, and introducing new and exciting ranges.”
BHS International has 11 franchise partners in charge of 61 stores in 14 countries. Its global footprint includes department stores in Russia, Malta, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
BHS International has stressed the retailer has no links with former owners Sir Philip Green or Dominic Chappell.
All BHS high street stores in the UK had closed by the end of August.