The UK was shocked by the collapse of BHS in department stores in 2016, with this chain dating back to 1928 and regarded as an established part of the UK retail scene. The chain's lingering collapse can be traced back to March 2015, when Arcadia sold BHS to the Retail Acquisitions consortium for a nominal price of GBP1. In April 2016, BHS meanwhile entered administration, while in June it was announced that BHS would be wound down due to failure to find a buyer. BHS' internet retailing site ceased trading in July 2016, while all stores had closed by the end of August. While BHS' international franchises and online operations were sold to Qatari Group Al Mana, with a new internet retailing site subsequently launched, the chain is no longer present in department stores. This collapse saw considerable media coverage, alongside a parliamentary enquiry, while the Pensions Regulator is also bringing formal legal proceedings against the chain's previous owners and directors.
Marks & Spencer remained a strong leader in mixed retailers at the end of the review period, being the only player with a double-digit value share and accounting for over 20%. This player benefits from the strength of its well-established brand in department stores, with most consumers strongly associating Marks & Spencer with quality. This company however saw a sharp drop in value share in 2016 over the previous year at over half a percentage point.
Department stores are expected to continue to struggle in the forecast period. This channel is likely to be impacted by Marks & Spencer shifting its focus towards food, with the company planning to close 30 of its department stores and convert a further 45 stores to grocery retailers in the forecast period. Department stores will meanwhile also be challenged by many players shifting their focus towards internet retailing, including Marks & Spencer. Furthermore this channel will be impacted by many hypermarkets offering concessions, as they seek to fill space previously devoted to consumer electronics and consumer appliances.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Retailing market research database.