Opinion: BHS Administration

April 2016

The administration of BHS will not have come as a surprise to any landlord, the timing so close the CVA (which was hailed as the beginning of the retailers turn around) will have.  Ultimately the business needed more that a financial buffer, it required the support of customers and they had abandoned the retailer some time ago in favour of more relevant, dynamic and convenient operators.

Undoubtedly many towns and shopping centres will benefit from the demise of BHS. The opportunity to introduce a more vibrant retail offer either in the shape of a single operator or by splitting the stores for multiple fascia will enhance the offer and replace employment.

The flip side is many BHS stores are in troubled towns where void levels are high. The discounters may pick over the bones of these stores but most will only require the large ground floor, not the upper parts. In the south east residential is the obvious answer for this remaining space (planning permitted) elsewhere the options are less clear.  The combination of void period, addressing wants of repair, inevitable asbestos issues, reduced rents and vacant parts of the building in poorer towns will create a ripple effect where some of the weaker landlords maybe forced into insolvency.

Whilst clarity over BHS is welcome this isn't a good day for retail.