Town centre BHS in first wave to close

The BHS in the Grand Arcade
The BHS in the Grand Arcade

Wigan’s BHS will be among the first 20 of the chain’s stores to close this weekend.

The Grand Arcade outlet will shut its doors for the final time on Saturday after the company went into liquidation last month.

Administrators Duff and Phelps said the department store chain would be “wound down” and its 163 stores sold off.

The first 20 shops to close have now been confirmed with Wigan in that list as well as neighbours St Helens.

The town has been home to a BHS for decades, with the previous store being located on Standishgate.

It moved into the Grand Arcade in 2007 and the shopping centre’s manager John Sanson expressed his sadness at the closure.

“They’ve been here since we opened and were previously on Standishgate before that,” he said.

“It’s very sad to see a national institution leave us. This was a reasonably successful store that was making money but it is a bigger issue and a bigger picture.

“They have always has a close, strong team there. The management team has been the same fore many years. It will be a sad loss for retail.”

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has expressed deep sadness at news that the administrators are starting to close BHS stores.

National Officer Dave Gill said: “We are saddened to hear the administrators for BHS have announced they are closing 20 stores, which will impact around 600 staff.

“We hope that other retailers, including Sir Phillip Green’s Arcadia group, will offer employment to these experienced, dedicated and loyal staff who suddenly find themselves unemployed.

“We believe there is hope for the remaining stores with the administrators continuing to seek buyers and we are still waiting to hear the details of Sir Phillip’s offer to ‘sort’ the pension scheme. In the meantime we are providing the support, advice and representation our members require at this difficult time.”