Kirkcaldy staff await news on BHS's future

Staff at Kirkcaldy's BHS store should soon learn what fate awaits the stricken retail chain.

Thursday, 19th May 2016, 10:18 am
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2016, 11:32 am
BHS Kirkcaldy - the first BHS to open in Scotland in 1964

Administrators Duff and Phelps are still considering bids by potential buyers and a decision is expected within days.

The deadline for submissions expired on Tuesday after bidders were told to improve their offers.

The decision will affect 11,000 BHS workers across the UK including a team of around 30 staff at the Kirkcaldy store - which held the honour of being the first BHS in Scotland when it opened in 1964.

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It is understood a consortium led by John Hargreaves, the founder of Matalan, has submitted a bid, as has Mike Ashley of Sports Direct, and Philip Day, owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Dominic Chappell, who led BHS as the majority shareholder of Retail Acquisitions when the company collapsed into administration last month, later declared an interest in buying back a portion of the firm.

However, administrators reportedly whittled down bids to only those willing to take on the whole company and its debts.

Liabilities will not include the firm’s £571m pension deficit which will be passed to the Government’s Pension Protection Fund.

The controversial collapse of BHS has prompted government review of a deal struck in March last year which saw Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green sell the 88-year-old company for £1 to Retail Acquisitions.

When news of the firm’s collapse was announced MP Roger Mullin described it as a “devastating blow” to BHS staff in Kirkcaldy.

He commented: “BHS has been a stalwart of Kirkcaldy High Street for as long as I can remember and would undoubtedly be sorely missed by my constituents should it close.”