BHS is set to relaunch in the UK on Thursday (September 29) as an online retailer.
BHS.com will open for business with a range of lighting and home furnishing products, followed by kitchenware and dining ranges in October, along with clothing items. The aim is to offer a full range of home furnishings and fashion in time for the Christmas season.
The online shop is being launched by the brand’s new owner, the Qatar-based Al Mana Group. In June 2016, The Al Mana Group created BHS International (UK) Limited, which acquired BHS.com, the International franchise business, and the BHS brand.
At the time of BHS going into administration in April, its international and online businesses were profitable and growing, and many of the key people running these have been retained by The Al Mana Group. They include David Anderson, who remains managing director of BHS International; Sara Bradley, buying director; and Dave West, head of creative.
The Al Mana Group operates in a number of sectors including retail, automotive, real estate, media and technology. It represents a range of high profile brands including: Zara, Mango, Armani Exchange, United Colors of Benetton and Reebok.
The new BHS, which will be headquartered in London, has 84 employees – the vast majority of who worked for the retailer before it went into administration.
BHS International managing director David Anderson will be overseeing the launch of the new UK online business, with a view to recruiting an executive at a later date to run this operation.
He said: “We are thrilled to be relaunching this iconic brand back into the UK. It had a loyal customer base with around 1.2 million British shoppers who bought from us online, and for our relaunch we have managed to secure many of the products they liked the most.”
The new retailer will offer a smaller range of products than it did before, but with a greater focus on items that are ‘best-sellers’. Its range of lighting and home furnishing products constituted around 75% of the most popular online items sold before BHS went into administration.
David continued: “In addition to this, we have developed a new specially designed online platform for our UK business so we are not inheriting any legacy systems, and we were able to recruit the majority of people who worked on the profitable online and international operations of BHS before it went into administration.”
He believes the new online platform will be one of the most customer-friendly in the market. Unlike the old BHS platform, customers will be able to order and checkout with just two clicks. They will also be able to log on to the website with one device such as their mobile phone, and continue their shopping experience on another such as a laptop or tablet.
David concluded: “So although we are starting again in the UK, we have a number of advantages over a typical start-up. We are nimble and efficient, but with a great brand, strong customer base and a proven and dedicated team.”