Priory Meadow Shopping Centre is exploring ‘attractive’ options for replacing BHS after the retail giant closed its Hastings store for good on Saturday (August 20).
Shoppers scrambled to grab some last day bargains as the bankrupt retailer shut door the store following going into administration in April.
Priory Meadow manager Stacey Bell said owners New River Retail is looking at a number of routes for the now empty store and is in discussion with ‘various’ operators.
“Our thoughts are with the staff who worked at BHS and their families, at this difficult time, and we wish them well for the future,” she said.
“The sad closure of the store was due to the national BHS chain going into administration, and is not in any way a reflection on what’s happening here at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre where otherwise things are looking good.
“NewRiver is exploring a number of new attractive routes for the BHS store and is in discussions with various operators, and is confident of creating a solution that will enhance the existing retail mix further and create new jobs again.
“In the meantime trade remains buoyant at Priory Meadow, following the opening of several new stores in recent months, and we continue to strive to provide a fantastic shopping experience and support the local economy.”
BHS was one of the founding members of Priory Meadow when it opened in 1997 and was one of the ‘major’ stores along with Marks and Spencer.
The 88-year-old department store’s collapse affected 11,000 jobs, 22,000 pensions, sparked a parliamentary inquiry and left its high-profile former owners potentially facing a criminal investigation.
Administrators Duff & Phelps and FRP Advisory have already overseen 128 closures, including BHS’s flagship Oxford Street store.
Michael Parmley was in the store during its last day of trading and said it was ‘sad’ to see so many people there when it was too late to save the retailer.
“It was sad to see so many customers queuing at the tills after so many years of poor trading,” he said.
“This was an 80 per cent off everything day and shoppers were taking advantage, many people buying polo shirts, retailing at £20, but on the last day selling for £4.
“I am aware that their first UK store was in Brixton, London in 1928, set up by some US entrepreneurs trying to follow the success of F W Woolworths.
“So sad to see the business leaving our high streets and going into liquidation after 88 years of trading.”
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