The British high street is looking set to lose another institution today, with the news that administrators have been unable to find a buyer who may have saved BHS from the liquidators.
All 163 stores across the UK are now set to close and 11,000 jobs are expected to be lost in the biggest high street collapse since Woolworths in 2008.
The news came after numerous offers and attempts were made to save the ailing company from closing its doors permanently, including those from Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, Poundstretcher boss Aziz Tayub and a last minute bid from retailer Greg Tufnell (brother of ex-cricketer Phil Tufnell).
Unfortunately as outlined by Philip Duffy, managing director of appointed administrators Duff & Phelps, in a statement earlier today, he said "Despite the considerable efforts of the administrators and BHS senior management, it has not been possible to agree a sale of the business", as they weren't able to acquire the funds needed to secure the future of the company, due to the amount of money required to revive it from the abyss.
He continued to say that, "The British High Street is changing and in these turbulent times for retailers, BHS has fallen as another victim of the seismic shifts we are seeing."
In April it was announced that BHS had appointed administrators to try to find a solution to save the former high street giant, and it was also revealed that there is a pension deficit of £571 million.
This deficit had been accumulated despite the fact that over £500 million of dividends were declared and paid out to former owner Sir Phillip Green and other investors, until after 15 years of ownership he sold it for £1 to a consortium led by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell, who then received millions of pounds during the 13 months they were in charge.
Both businessmen have been widely critised for their handling and management of the company and are set to appear before MPs who are investigating the whole debacle and seeking to find out how such a large 'black hole' in the pension fund has been allowed to form. Mr Chappel is due to appear before them on 8th June and Sir Phillip a week later.
It's once again a sad day for the British high street with another prominent presence set to disappear and thousands set to lose their jobs. However the story doesn't end unhappily there, what will continue to unfold following the collapse, is how and who will fill the sizeable gap left in the pension fund, will Sir Phillip & co be held to account?, or will it fall once again on the hard working taxpayers to pick up the pieces of the messy trail left behind by greedy 'fat cats'?.
The sad fact of the matter as always, is that the ones who will ultimately end up suffering are the thousands of BHS workers who have contributed for years to a pension that may never be paid out as promised.