Pamela said: "Listening to Sir Philip Green today respond to questions posed by the parliamentary select committee, it seems as if the high street which is always a difficult place to trade and succeed, somehow conspired to sink this iconic British high street department store. But with the vision of a great retail entrepreneur, the restructure of the supply chain to source products more competitively from Asia, and a wealth of stores in key town and city locations, where did it all go wrong?
As the forensic analysis and detailed investigation by parliament and other interested parties continues to unfold during the next weeks and months, it is not at all clear if we will ever really know. But too little investment and the distraction of other fashion retailers in the Arcadia Group that provided a more exiting opportunity to play with on the high street could prove ultimately to be the undoing for BHS.
All of which, means less now to the 11,000 workers about to lose their livelihood and the 20,000 pensioners or so awaiting to know the demise of their future income. For these individuals and the continued success of the British high street there is a need for a new retail warrior waiting in the wings. It would be a shame if some of the stalwart and leading retail players are unable to see the potential in a rescue plan. Albeit, this may require the sell-off of some prime retail sites, there are still product ranges where BHS do well, e.g. home-ware, lighting, school-wear, baby clothes and lingerie. Maybe a more limited retail offering in smaller stores is the way forward and perhaps the only possibility of a reprieve for the BHS brand and its employees."
Pamela is an expert in retail at the University of Birmingham. Previously she spent 14 years working in management at Tesco before joining PwC Consulting to advise retailers around the world on their buying and supply chain strategy.
Dr Robinson is available for interviews on: P.K.Robinson@bham.ac.uk or 07710012027.
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