BHS landlords have started the scramble to find new owners to take over the chain’s department stores, after a rescue bid to save the retailer collapsed, leaving property groups with likely empty shops.
Listed property companies are among those that have been rocked by BHS administrator Duff & Phelps’ admission last week that all 163 stores would close down.
The failed chain’s real-estate portfolio covers about 5.5 million square feet, equivalent to more than three Shard skyscrapers.
Ed Jenkins, Standard Life Investments’ head of UK retail, said the firm was working with the administrators but warned that “clearly the occupier market will not be helped by having to absorb” the BHS space. Standard Life has six stores.
Land Securities, which has three BHS stores, said it was “confident” in strong demand from retailers for space in its schemes.
Other property firms that face empty shops include British Land, which has five BHS stores, and shopping centres owner Intu with 10.
Tony Devlin, head of high street retail at property agent CBRE, said there was scope for the stores to find new occupiers, including “retailers with formats more appropriate for today’s trading conditions”.
The property plans come in the same week Parliament will hear the latest round of evidence as MPs try to establish what led to the administration of BHS.
The once-popular store chain failed 13 months after it was sold by Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green for £1 to Retail Acquisitions, led by serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell.
The Work and Pensions and Business, Innovation and Skills committees will question BHS management and Chappell on Wednesday.
Chappell will face questions about a £10 million payment made by Green three months after he sold the business.
This article was written by Joanna Bourke from Evening Standard, London and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Free Newsroom email alerts
Register for daily/weekly email alerts with news from The Financial Times, Forbes, Reuters, The Economist and more.