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BHS may close Southampton and Carlisle stores

BHS has started consultations with almost 120 employees at two of its stores in Southampton and Carlisle as it continues to review its property portfolio.

Staff at the Southampton store at 40-50 Above Bar Street and the Carlisle store in The Lanes Shopping Centre at 1 English Street were informed last week.

The 37,000 sq ft Southampton store employs 65 people and the 24,000 sq ft Carlisle store employs 54.

Drapers understands the decision was taken because of concerns over the level of rent on the properties.

Neither store was identified on the list that was circulating around the property industry in March, which detailed 52 of the department store chain’s 173 UK stores under review.

A spokesman for BHS said the retailer was reviewing every site to assess the best options for its future, as well as looking for alternative locations to open new stores.

“It is business as usual and we are very pleased with the way the business is going,” he said. “We are still very busy with the turnaround plan.”

Last month, it was revealed that BHS has hired property agents to identify options for its Oxford Street store, including subdividing the space to lease to other retailers.

The BHS spokesman said: “Our intention is to stay on the site – we’re currently on two floors and there are another two floors, with multiple entrances so that may be an option. There are no further developments as yet.”

In separate news, a consultation continues over the 37 jobs put at risk following the proposal to close John Lewis’s distribution centre in Carlisle. The retailer announced it is opening a new 638,000 sq ft distribution centre in Milton Keynes in February this year and began consultations with the Carlisle workers, as well as 239 people in three of its existing Milton Keynes sites and eight employees in Stevenage. They have been offered a role at the new site or its other sites in Milton Keynes.

@Tara_Hounslea

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