Vote on future of BHS is looming

BHS, Parkgate Shopping Centre.
BHS, Parkgate Shopping Centre.

The future of BHS will be decided on Wednesday when landlords vote on whether to agree rent cuts of up to 75 per cent at stores including Meadowhall and Parkgate in Rotherham.

If the plan for a Company Voluntary Arrangement is not approved, documents show the chain will not have enough cash to meet its rent bill - which is due two days later - and it will be placed into administration.

BHS on The Moor, Sheffield

BHS on The Moor, Sheffield

Under the proposals, 40 stores - including Meadowhall and Parkgate - would have a 75 per cent rent cut for a minimum of 10 months while bosses negotiate permanent reductions. A further 47 premises would stay open if rent is reduced to 75 per cent of the full amount (21 stores) or 50 per cent (26 stores).

Some 77 premises will be retained at current rents, but paid monthly not quarterly. This includes the one on The Moor, in Sheffield city centre, Doncaster Frenchgate and Vicar Lane, Chesterfield.

Management has submitted a turnaround plan alongside the CVA which includes job cuts and a greater emphasis on food.

A director’s statement of affairs shows the chain has been loss-making for seven years and has liabilities of £1.3bn, including a pension deficit of £570m.

A spokeswoman for accountants KPMG, which is handling the CVA application, said the figures had been shared by the directors but not verified.

A spokesperson for British Land, owner of Meadowhall, said: “It is not appropriate to comment when there are on-going negotiations with a tenant. We are not discussing the BHS space with John Lewis.”

Janet Drury, centre manager at Parkgate Shopping, said: “Neither myself or the landlord can comment.”