Flagship Oxford Street BHS closes doors with remaining stores to shut next week


The doors have been locked for the final time on British Home Store's flagship branch in central London - and by next weekend no stores will be left.

The Oxford Street outlet is one of 58 closing over the next eight days as administrators call time on 88 years of British retail history.

On their last-ever shift on Saturday, workers told the Press Association of their fears as the chain's collapse has affected 11,000 jobs, 22,000 pensions.

Maira Estupinan, 39, said: "I'm very sad, for myself and everyone losing their jobs. I have worked with so many lovely people here, a lovely manager, and I'm so upset to leave."

Inside, the shop was littered with scores of red and yellow "everything must go" style signs advertising as much as 80% off.

Hundreds of last-minute customers picked over the remaining stock.

Duff & Phelps and FRP Advisory have already overseen 105 closures over the past weeks, with the last of BHS's total 163 stores scheduled to close on August 20.

News of the store's failure in April sparked a lengthy parliamentary inquiry and has left its high-profile former owners potentially facing a criminal investigation.

Retail billionaire Sir Philip Green has borne the brunt of the public fallout, having been branded the "the unacceptable face of capitalism" by furious MPs.

Sir Philip owned BHS for 15 years before selling it to serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015. Sir Philip has come under fire for taking more than £400 million in dividends from the chain, leaving it with a £571 million pension deficit and for selling it to a man with no retail experience.

Veteran Labour MP Frank Field has asked the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to launch a formal investigation into the pair to ascertain if any criminal wrongdoing occurred during the sale of the chain and throughout their respective ownerships.

He said: "The central concern that emerged from our inquiry was the rushed sale of a struggling high street institution to manifestly unsuitable buyers. There is no way someone with Sir Philip Green's experience believed they were anything but."

Surai Zacarias, 36, who has worked at BHS since 2012, said: "I have to look for another job, of course, it's been such a long day. It's been very badly managed by those in charge, I wish this to happen to no one else - not at any company.

"It is not easy to come in to work and the next thing you have no job."

Brendon Cabey, 34, from Islington, north London, has worked at BHS for 12 years. He said that if he saw Sir Philip he would "say nothing at all to him. He has made this company go down the drain. I would not talk to him".

He said he is "trying not to think" about his pension.

Nikki Rav, 25, has worked in the store since she was 17. 

She said of Sir Philip: "Just leave it to Karma. It will come round to him."