BHS staff are “shocked” after administrators announce the stores will “wind down” putting 8,000 jobs at risk including at the Surrey Quays store, Rotherhithe.
The administrators, Duff & Phelps, have said all 163 stores will be “in close down sale mode” over the coming weeks and while they will try to sell the stores on, jobs are “likely to go”.
A further 3000 jobs of none BHS employees who work in the stores are also said to be at risk.
Philip Duffy, Managing Director of Duff & Phelps and Joint Administrator, said “The British high street is changing and in these turbulent times for retailers, BHS has fallen as another victim of the seismic shifts we are seeing.
“The tireless work and goodwill of the existing management team and employees of BHS with the support of my team were not enough to change the fortunes of the company.”
The news was met with Usdaw, the shopworkers’ trade union, urging Duff & Phelps to “look after the best interests of staff”.
Dave Gill, Usdaw’s National Officer, said: “BHS staff are shocked after a year of uncertainty and anxiety. This news is a devastating blow for the staff and the shock waves will be felt on high streets throughout the country.
“There are some very serious questions that need to be answered, by former owners of the business, about how a company with decades of history and experience in retail has now come to this very sorry end.
“We urge the administrators to comply with the law on consultation and not force the staff to seek a protective award which can result in taxpayers picking up the bill.
“There are wider concerns the Government needs to address about the future of the high street as we see yet another major player go to the wall.
“Very real concerns need addressing about the impact of business rates, high property rents and the much higher tax liabilities high street retailers they have over online retailers.
“In the meantime we are providing the support and advice our members in BHS require at this very difficult time.”