New research from the Local Data Company shows that one year on from the collapse of BHS, 82 per cent of the store group’s 160 stores lie empty. Thirty-five stores (22 per cent) have deals or planning permission pending which brings down the figure of those lying empty and with no plans to 60 per cent (96 stores).
Of the 23 that have been reoccupied, fashion occupiers have taken up seven stores, discount stores six and DIY three. Primark has been the biggest taker of former BHS stores, with four currently trading. The next biggest occupier is The Range with three. Other occupiers to take over BHS units include Next, B&M Bargains, Pep&Co, Morley’s, Sports Direct, TK Maxx, TJ Hughes, Poundworld Extra, Buyology, Home Bargains and Dunelm.
A number are applying for change of use including the Princes Street store in Edinburgh for conversion to a hotel, Taunton, where a gym will operate above a Poundworld and Glasgow where plans are in place to change the former store into a cinema.
LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said: “The best of the old BHS stores have been taken by the value retailers who can operate profitably out of large stores in high footfall towns. Many of the others are unlikely to be reoccupied as shops and therefore alternative uses must be sought.