UK’s BHS up for sale after receiving several approaches

Struggling UK department store group BHS is up for sale, with its owner Sir Philip Green having received several serious approaches for the high street brand over the past few months.

“It is now the company’s plan to explore whether any of these can be brought to a conclusion,” a spokeswoman for parent Arcadia said on Sunday.

Part of Green’s privately-held Arcadia Group, loss-making BHS has 180 stores and employs 12,000 staff.

South African billionaire Christo Wiese, ABF-owned Primark, supermarkets Aldi and Lidl, and investment groups Hilco and Apollo are all thought to be interested in the retailer.

However, the chain could be broken up in a sale with key sites, including its flagship store on London’s Oxford Street, deemed more valuable than the overall business.

Arcadia posted a 3% fall in annual profit in November, partly the result of bigger BHS losses, hurt by write-downs on failing stores.

The most recent results show BHS made a £69.6m pre-tax loss in 2013, with sales dropping 3.5% to £675.7m. That followed a £116m loss in 2012.

Last November, presenting results for family company Taveta Investments, Green said BHS was “in repair” but its turnaround also “remained challenging”.

He bought BHS, formerly known as British Home Stores, for £200m in 2000 from the Storehouse conglomerate.

A sale of BHS will allow Green to focus on the international expansion of its star brand Topshop and his other fashion brands, which are performing well.

In 2012, Arcadia sold a minority stake in the fashion chain to US private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners to help fund its expansion in the US.

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