Thousands of BHS workers have been given a stay of execution after it emerged that the department store chain’s remaining 57 shops will be kept open longer than planned.
Administrators to the retailer had put a deadline of 20 August for all outlets to close, but this has been provisionally extended to 28 August, although it is possible that this date could also be pushed out.
Duff & Phelps and FRP Advisory will keep the stores open until stock has run out as they look to maximise returns. Workers will continue to be paid until the stores close, after which they will be made redundant.
The administrators have already overseen 106 closures over recent weeks, with the latest being BHS’s flagship Oxford Street store on Saturday.
The firm’s collapse in April has affected 11,000 jobs, 22,000 pensions, sparked a lengthy parliamentary inquiry and 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 MPs.
Green owned BHS for 15 years before selling it to serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015. Green has come under fire for taking more than £400 million in dividends from the chain, leaving it with a £571m pension deficit and for selling it to a man with no retail experience.
Labour MP Frank Field has asked the Serious Fraud Office 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.