Footage that emerged of Sir Philip Green on his luxury yacht “feels like a huge slap in the face” to BHS employees and pensioners, a BHS pensioner told Drapers today.
BHS Sutton Coldfield
Lin Macmillan, who worked for BHS for more than 10 years as assistant manager of the Lincoln and Aberdeen stores, is running petition to urge Green to plug the pensions deficit to ensure pensioners do not lose out as a result of the collapse of the high street chain.
“I have started the petition myself because I was so appalled at what was happening,” she said. ”Sir Philip Green has been on his yacht for over a month now and he says he will sort the pension deficit, but I think you need to meet with The Pensions Regulator to do that – it’s not something you can do remotely.
Last month Green reiterated that he is trying to find a solution for the BHS pension and continuing to work with The Pensions Regulator to achieve an outcome, after a report from the work and pensions committee, and the business, innovations and skills committee, which pointed the finger at him as responsible for the collapse of BHS. A spokesman for Green told Drapers said this still stands.
Yesterday, Macmillan visited the Glasgow store – which is one of the final stores to close – and described employees as “still working very professionally and cheerfully helping customers, trying to sort out the last of the stock, which frankly was a mess”.
“They did have it sorted as much as they could, but it looked like a complete jumble sale,” she said. “Around three-quarters of the store is empty because they’d moved all the stock into one place, so the rest of it felt like an aircraft hangar.”
Macmillan, who stopped working for BHS in 1990, said she first became worried about the chain around eight years ago when visiting stores that had far fewer customers than in her time at the retailer.
“I can remember days when you could not move in there for customers, particularly around Christmas time, but when I visited stores later there were often more staff than customers so you did start to think something was wrong,” she said.
“At the beginning of March this year, we got a booklet from the pensions trustees. It set out options if BHS did go into administration, which really got alarm bells ringing.
“The worry is that now this could drag on for a long time and the pensions of those of us who no longer work for the company don’t keep pace with inflation, and people working for BHS when it closed will only get 90%.”
The full list of the last 22 stores to close on Sunday is here.