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  1. ITV Report

Final BHS stores close after 88 years on the high street

  • ITV News Correspondent Nazanine Moshiri reports

Department store chain BHS has finally closed, ending 88 years of British retail history.

The last 22 of 150 branches closed on Sunday afternoon, with bargain-hunters seen emerging from the stores clutching heavily discounted items.

The flagship BHS store in Oxford Street, London, closed earlier this month.

BHS announced its stores will close earlier this year Credit: Reuters

The final BHS stores to close were:

  • Exeter
  • Surrey Quays,London
  • St Enoch Centre, Glasgow
  • Metrocentre,Tyne and Wear
  • York
  • Merryhill,West Midlands
  • Romford
  • Harrow
  • Doncaster
  • Walthamstow
  • Uxbridge
  • Bexleyheath
  • Leicester
  • Norwich
  • Belfast
  • Kingston
  • Hanley
  • St James, Northampton
  • Swansea
  • Wood Green
  • Cribbs Causeway, Bristol
  • St Albans

In York, the store closed shortly before 4pm and staff could be seen hugging one another on the shopfloor which had been stripped of all stock, fixtures and fittings.

Janet Scott, 61, who worked at BHS for just under 20 years, wiped tears from her eyes as she described working at the shop.

She said: "It's a sad day. I'm gutted. But the staff were feeling quite upbeat and feeling positive about it. You've just got to get on and do the job, haven't you?"

"People come in that you've seen every week. I've seen children growing up from that age to getting their last school uniform", she added.

The Wood Green store in London closed on Sunday Credit: ITV News
Items were being removed from the back of the Wood Green store on Sunday Credit: ITV News
People queue to pay at the closing down sale of a branch of BHS Credit: Reuters

BHS's collapse in April has affected 11,000 jobs, 22,000 pensions, sparked a lengthy parliamentary inquiry, and left its former owners potentially facing a criminal investigation.

Retail magnate Sir Philip Green has borne the brunt of the fallout from the chain's demise, and been branded the "unacceptable face of capitalism" by angry MPs.

He owned BHS for 15 years before selling it to businessman Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015.

Sir Philip has come under fire for taking more than £400 million in dividends from the chain, leaving it with a £571 million pension deficit, and for selling it to Mr Chappell, a serial bankrupt with no retail experience.

Sir Philip spoke before Parliament's business select committee about the collapse of BHS Credit: Reuters

Veteran Labour MP Frank Field has asked the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to begin a formal investigation into both Sir Philip and Mr Chappell, to ascertain if any criminal wrongdoing occurred during the sale of the chain.

It has also emerged that Mr Field is looking into Sir Philip's Arcadia retail group, which includes high street favourite Topshop.