BHS will 'trade as usual' as debt solution is sought, says business minister

The High Street retailer has filed for administration, putting 164 stores and 11,000 jobs at risk; but cuts won't be immediate.
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BHS is still open for business as usual with no plans to make immediate job cuts, business minister Anna Soubry has said.

The minister has made the statement following confirmation that the High Street retailer was entering administration, putting 164 shops and almost 11,000 jobs at risk.

The news has been said to be the ‘biggest high street collapse since Woolworths in the early stages of the financial crises back in 2008.’.

As administrators now try to sell all or part of the 88 year old retailer burdened with a pensions deficit of over £571 million, BHS is expected to continue to trade.

Amid Soubry’s urgent statement of ‘business as usual’ in the House of Commons, the pensions regulator said it would investigate BHS, which has more than 20,000 pension holders.

The BBC reports that BHS has recently fallen behind cheaper and more tech-savvy rivals and is struggling with debts of more than £1.3bn, including £571m in pension liabilities.

The company decided to bring in administrators after talks to sell some of its 164 UK stores to Sports Direct collapsed over the weekend.

It is now just over a year since BHS was bought for £1 from the retail entrepreneur Sir Philip Green to new owners Retail Acquisitions who said they would deliver £160m of funding to help turn the chain around.

The firm was unable to raise the funds.

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