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Sad day as Belfast retailing stalwart BHS closes its doors for the last time after being destroyed by bad management

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 27/08/2016

The last BHS stores will close this week
The last BHS stores will close this week

The closing of the BHS store in Belfast today marks another sad milestone in the retail history of the city.

For many years BHS has been a stalwart of the high street, with a wide range of loyal customers.

It is important to remember, however, that BHS has been brought to extinction not by its staff or suppliers, but by bad management. This was clearly underlined by a critical report recently from an influential Westminster Select Committee, and it remains to be seen if the BHS former owner Sir Philip Green will make amends for the loss of jobs and pensions.

While the demise of BHS is a particularly tacky story in the annals of retailing, the major casualties are the 11,000 people who are now out of a job and also without their pensions.

The closure of the Belfast branch will put 80 of those former employees on the street, and looking for employment at a time when jobs are hard to find. Many of these people have been extremely loyal to the company, but this loyalty has not been returned, and given the disgraceful developments of recent times, the end was inevitable.

The closure of BHS is a loss for the city of Belfast. This was one of the stores which served the citizens of Belfast through thick and thin.

Its doors remained opened during the worst of the Troubles, and by doing so BHS helped to keep the city centre alive and provide shopping facilities for people who refused to be ground down by the violence all around. The BHS store survived the worst of the Troubles,but it was powerless to withstand the actions of a management team which brought it to disaster.

Our thoughts go out today to those employees and their families who are suffering through no fault of their own.

It is particularly sad that a department store which had such a fine record of service to its people should have been destroyed in such a despicable way.

Its staff and customers deserved better.

Belfast Telegraph

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