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Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 08:44 GMT
Bhs to treble profits
BHS store
Bhs is thriving since its takeover
Retail group Bhs confirmed its turnaround by reporting a strong rise in Christmas sales, buoyed by sales of women's clothing.

The High Street chain also predicted it would almost treble its full year operating profits.

Christmas trading update - Thursday
Bhs: +7.8%
QS Group: +4.3%
Body Shop: +4.0% (UK only)
Budgens: +4.0%
Boots: +2.4% (group)
Clinton Cards: +1.5%
It predicted full year operating profits for the year to March would hit at least 92.5m ($133), compared with 33.2m a year before.

Bhs was taken over by entrepreneur Philip Green in 2000 and has challenged stricken High Street giant Marks & Spencer as a store to buy stylish but affordable everyday clothing.

Top marks for new range

Like-for-like sales rose 7.8% in the six weeks to 5 January 2002, compared with a year before.

Gross margins increased by 6.3%.

The autumn 2001 range was the first full product range brought out by Bhs' new management team.

The success of Bhs womenswear was indicated by a rise of more than 20% in like-for-like sales over a 40-week period to 5 January.

Green & Green

Overall like-for-like sales rose by 4.6% for the 40 week period, while gross margin improved by 7.6% points.

Retail entrepreneur Philip Green bought Bhs from its parent company Storehouse for 200m.

Six months later he headhunted Terry Green to become Bhs chief executive, ending rumours that the former Debenhams boss would take the helm at Marks & Spencer.

Bhs it is now free of debt and claims a strong positive cash flow, reversing the picture of a year ago, when it had debts of 104m.

"All divisions have delivered improved profitability," the company said.

Philip Green said the firm's turnaround reflected its concentration on delivering "quality, stylish and aspirational merchandise at great value" to a loyal customer base and improving its stores.

See also:

15 Sep 00 | Business
New boss at Bhs
27 Mar 00 | Business
Bhs sold to M&S raider
21 Mar 00 | Business
Iceland ends Bhs takeover talks
13 Sep 00 | Business
Debenhams boss steps down
15 Sep 00 | Business
M&S boss 'set' to go
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