A year after relaunching as an online “start-up”, BHS.com is focusing on contemporary product to rebuild the brand and change customers’ perceptions, its managing director Kevan Mallinder said this week.
On 29 September 2016 BHS.com relaunched as an online-only business, five months after the department store chain went into administration.
Mallinder said the first year of trading has been a “phenomenal” success – sales in the second quarter were up 35% year on year, while womenswear sales were up 350%.
He credits the growth in fashion with a “trial and test” mentality, and injecting new and “unexpected” products that have attracted a new, younger shopper.
“We have brought more focus and innovation into our fashion offer. We introduced things like the holiday shop, which was very successful, and we’ve just launched a denim campaign, which is sleek and contemporary. We are creating a new perception of what BHS stands for.”
First-time shoppers currently represent around two-thirds of BHS.com’s customers, and those new customers are split between a trend-driven shopper and young mums who are looking for a bargain, Mallinder said.
“Our customer now is very different. There is a marked departure from our past, we are stocking products that are unexpected. We are rebuilding our brand image.”
Most of Maillinder’s team of 20 were former BHS employees.
This week BHS.com launches its first advertising campaign, which will comprise posters in railway stations, and print and digital advertising.
Mallinder said the firm is ramping up its presence in the run-up to Christmas: “We are focusing on making ourselves more visible over the next few months with some targeted marketing and the ad campaign.
“We have a good balance of products for autumn and are continuing to be inventive. We can’t rely on the past – rebuilding and innovating are key to making us a sustainable business.”
BHS International, which was formed by the Al Mana Group, acquired BHS.com, the international franchise business and the BHS brand in June 2016.