The former BHS Oxford Street store, which became widely associated with the 88-year-old retailer’s tumultuous collapse, is to open its doors again today as Polish fashion chain Reserved launches into the UK.
Of the 160 BHS shops that were shuttered following its demise, around 60pc of the estate remains empty with discount retailers such as B&M Bargains taking on the majority of stores.
Reserved is hoping to breathe new life into the BHS shop and appeal to British shoppers by hiring supermodel Kate Moss and close-friend of former BHS owner Sir Philip Green to front its fashion campaign.
Marek Piechocki, boss of Reserved’s Polish parent company LPP, shrugged off questions that taking the BHS space would be like walking in dead mens’ shoes by saying that the 32,000 square foot Oxford Street store was the type of central location that they had been looking for several years.
Mr Piechocki said that he had “every confidence in the UK retail market and the Oxford Street store in particular”.
The London store is LPP’s first step into the UK market after opening 1,710 shops in 20 countries across central and Eastern Europe. Last week the company recorded PLN 3bn (£650m) in half-year sales.
“I’m realistic about the challenges of the UK market”, he added. “In terms of footfall, there’s still a place for bricks and mortar stores as destination shopping locations and that is what Reserved Oxford Street will be. At the same time, we are a multi channel business and have a U.K.-wide ecommerce offering to complement the in store business.”
Mr Piechocki said that he believed it was “still too early to know for sure” how Brexit would affect the UK market.