BHS plans major international expansion under new owner
The BHS brand’s new owners are planning an ambitious international expansion, six months after the UK-based business spectacularly failed under its previous owners.
Qatari conglomerate Al Mana Group, which has no connection with the previous owners, acquired the brand following its collapse in June, and wants to expand fast. It is in talks with a number of potential partners.
Al Mana had operated BHS abroad on a franchise basis since 1985. BHS International MD David Anderson said the company is speaking to franchise partners in Europe, the Middle East and Africa with contracts close to being signed.
The company has made no comment on whether it will ever re-enter the UK market with physical stores. For now, its only UK presence is via the BHS.com website that was launched at the time of acquisition this summer. The firm plans to add clothing and other homewares products to its dotcom offer before year-end.
As well as the talks it is holding with new partners, the company is also looking for more partners around the world and wants to enter 10 new countries.
Creative work on the products still happens from the UK with Al Mana having retained 84 staff from the previous BHS incarnation as well as using UK suppliers. For its new partners, the London-based team will create more product that is custom-designed for each region.
BHS currently has 61 stores operated by 11 franchisees in 14 countries and has seen strong growth in recent years.
Al Mana is is run by Wissam al Mana, the billionaire husband of pop singer Janet Jackson, who also runs franchises for major retail names Harvey Nichols, Zara and Mango in the UAE.
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