BHS is understood to have received around 50 expressions of interest

BHS is understood to have received around 50 expressions of interest

UK high street stalwart BHS has received a number of expressions of interest, its administrators have said, just days after filing for administration.

Duff & Phelps were appointed administrator earlier this week, putting around 11,000 jobs at risk. The retailer, which last month won a stay of execution after creditors voted in support of a rent cut plan for some of its stores, is understood to have told staff the company has been unable to secure a funder or a trade sale.

The company was understood to have been in talks with Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley over the weekend to sell some of its 164 stores, but failed to reach a deal due to the company's GBP571m pension deficit.

However, administrators Philip Duffy and Benjamin Wiles said today (28 April) that they have been working hard to stabilise the business and have since received a number of expressions of interest. Reports have put this figure at around 50, some for all of the business, most for parts.

"We continue to seek a sale as a going concern," the added. "We appreciate the hard work of staff that have ensured that stores have continued to trade as normal. Staff have been paid over the course of yesterday and today and we want to reassure them that they will continue to be so whilst the Group remains in administration, as a priority payment."

Conlumino CEO Neil Saunders said the failure of BHS brings to a close a long-run period of decline that has seen the chain fall out of favour with British shoppers thanks to its failure to respond to changing tastes and intensified competition on the high street.

"Fifteen years ago in 2000, BHS attracted some 13.4% of all clothing shoppers through its doors. Although not all of these visitors would use BHS as their main store, many would buy one or two products – helping BHS attain a respectable 2.3% share of the clothing market," he noted.

Last year BHS pulled in just 8.2% of all clothing shoppers with a 1.4% share of the clothing market.

BHS was bought by Sir Philip Green for GBP200m in 2000, and subsequently sold to Retail Acquisitions – a consortium of financiers, lawyers and accountants – last year for just GBP1. At the time, Retail Acquisitions said it would provide GBP160m of funding to help turn the fortunes of the chain around, but was not able to raise the sum.

The company is understood to have recorded a loss of GBP85m (US$120.3m) in its last financial year.

According to Sky News reports, representatives of Retail Acquisitions and their advisers will be called by MPs probing the retailer's collapse. A committee will examine the level of due diligence Retail Acquisitions was legally required to undertake before buying BHS.

BHS "lacks relevance" as it files for administration