Business

BHS employee: 'I've just lost my job and it's down to Philip Green'

BHS store Image copyright Getty Images

Thousands of jobs at BHS are to be lost as a result of the collapse of the department store, announced on Thursday.

The decision to close 163 stores over the coming weeks came after a lengthy bidding process aimed at trying to save the High Street chain failed.

Some staff say they only learnt of the decision after hearing about it in the media.

Current and former BHS employees have been talking to BBC News.


Ben, not his real name, works part-time at BHS in the Midlands

"I started working there last year. I really like it. Everyone is so friendly.

"We had heard rumours about its future but I only found out on Thursday when I saw it in the news.

"We were doing so well. When the business went into administration in April, business was up. We saw lots of people coming into the store.

"They were obviously excited by all the discounts on offer.

"People say it is old-fashioned and yes we did see mainly older ladies in the store, but it was also very popular with younger people who seem to like the home section.

"It's a shame. I've lost my job and it's down to Philip Green, cheers pal. I am lost for words.

"I haven't heard anything from the company yet but I am not full-time so I don't think I am a priority.

"I have been phoning up about other jobs and I will keep looking around."

Image copyright PA

Sara works at BHS on Oxford Street, London

"I'm very saddened to hear the store could not be saved.

"I have really enjoyed working with the company. There is a real family-friendly atmosphere in the store.

"We have regular customers and they really value what we offer.

"The quality of the products is of a good standard and their children and baby sections are particularly popular.

"The management team are fantastic and I found them very supportive, helpful and caring when I was dealing with a death and last year when I broke my foot and had to take time off.

"I only work at the weekends so I really feel for all the full-time staff.

"I'm also disgusted by the fact staff were not told before going to press."

BHS collapse

163

stores to close

11,000

jobs at risk, including:

  • 8,000 members of staff and

  • 3,000 non-BHS employees who work in the stores

GETTY

Mike Williams was a senior manager in charge of several departments at BHS before retiring in 2000

"I worked at BHS for 33 years but unfortunately over three decades I saw a change in attitudes at the company.

"When I joined the business many of the directors were home-grown. They knew the business inside out, they were long-serving and dedicated to the future success of the organisation.

"Then came the decade of incentives. The bonus culture, the offering of both cash and share options.

"From that day on, the focus of the business appeared to be how can we make money as individuals each year and even more next year. It was more about the personal need to make a fortune.

Image copyright Mike Williams

"This culture continued as directors started to search for jobs outside the company where the rewards were even greater, leading to replacement appointments of high-salary and bonus-seeking management with or without any retail experience.

"BHS needed investment but they took their eye off the ball.

"Now 11,000 staff have an uncertain future, along with pensioners like myself, who have worked with the company for decades.

"We have done no more than follow the rules and now our incomes will be reduced or capped, or won't rise with inflation for the rest of our lives."

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