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Green on 'learning curve' as Bhs revamp gathers speed

Bhs is breaking new ground in fashionabililty and rolling out its London Oxford Circus shopfit on a portfolio-wide trial, Sir Philip Green revealed this week.

In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Drapers, Green said that the look of the Oxford Street store was "ultimately where we want to be", following a difficult year. "We injured ourselves last year. Our customers have moved on and we have been on a learning curve," he said.

"Oxford Street is the start of where we want to go. Sales are growing and the store is the template. Now we'll see how it rolls out in different sizes."

The Oxford Street shopfit was revealed in September last year, and featured the dramatic use of mannequins to showcase fashion looks across womenswear and menswear, sub-branded areas and extensive use of wall graphics. A holiday shop, selling swimwear and beachwear, was also fitted into the store in February. The trial roll-out will be in seven, as yet unnamed, stores across a mix of locations and sizes.

Alongside the new look, fashion collections are being beefed up for spring 07, with the summer injection - going into stores in April and May - the most fashionable yet. The offer includes a brights and a black and white story, with dresses forming an important part of the offer.

Of the spring and summer womenswear collections, Green said it was "75% to 80% there". However, he added that the fashionability would not be pushed too far. "We are in a better place now, with the colour and fashion content, but are still family-value fashion. Having distinctive product is more key than ever, and the holiday shop shows that - it has focus and it has a point of view."

He added: "There has been no price resistance with the new merchandise."

On menswear, the offer was "evolving", he said. "We are moving on and results we have been getting are good."

Meanwhile, Bhs has appointed a new marketing director, Shaeren McKenzie, who previously worked at Gossard. She replaces Bev Churchill, who left the business last year. One of McKenzie's first tasks will be to work on the final tweaking of the store design, especially around PoS. She joined the business this week.

Bhs is also understood to be on the hunt for a retail operations director.

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