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Market Commentary

​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 19 January, 2015

Sir Phillip Green puts BHS up for sale

Sir Philip Green has put BHS up for sale after receiving “several approaches” for the department store chain. Sir Phillip has owned BHS for almost 15 years. It is part of Arcadia, the conglomerate which he controls, along with Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis. BHS, which has 180 stores and employees 12,000 people, reported a 3.5% decrease in sales to £675.7m in 2013, despite narrowing its pre-tax losses to £69.9m from £116m in 2012. BHS has been a victim of the general demise of the variety store model, and the fierce competition from the like of Primark in particular.

BHS’s latest sales figures are in contrast to many retailers, highlighted in our Annual Christmas Trading Update. Discounter, B&M Bargains, joined the group of retailers announcing positive LFLs over their Christmas trading period at the end of last week. The retailer, which was founded in Blackpool in 1978, reported third quarter LFL growth was 4.5%.  In addition, Card Factory and Norcotts have all announced positive Christmas figures in the last few days.

In other news, Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley is said to be looking to expand his retail empire after joining several suitors in considering a bid for Evans Cycles. The private equity group owner is looking to find a buyer for the cycling specialist, which has 56 stores and employs around 1,200 people. Sports Direct may be eyeing an offer for the company as a means of tapping into the UK’s growing cycling market.

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