Efforts are under way to find new tenants for Huddersfield’s abandoned BHS store.
BHS closed its doors for the last time at 5.30pm yesterday (Wednesday) with the loss of 60 jobs.
The store at The Shambles is one of more than 100 stores to be axed nationwide after the debt-ridden retail giant went into administration earlier this year. In total, 11,000 employees have been made redundant.
Now managers at the Piazza Shopping Centre are working to find a new occupant for the two-storey premises – the second largest unit at the shopping centre behind Boots.
David Rawstron, of Leeds-based property consultants Rawstron Johnson, which handles leasing opportunities for the Piazza, said it was early days in the search for a replacement tenant.
He said: “We are looking at various options. It is obviously a big chunk of the Piazza. There’s the possibility of splitting it up into smaller – but not tiny – units or leasing it as a whole to someone. Discussions are ongoing.”
Asked if there was an appetite among retailer for large premises, Mr Rawstron said: “It is very much simply down to the circumstances in each particular location. If someone is desperate to get into the town they would be very interested in the BHS site.”
But he added: “There’s quite a bit of work to do and it isn’t going to happen overnight.”
The Piazza is home to more than 20 retailers, including major names Boots, WH Smith, Card Factory, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Superdrug and Outdoor World – although there are also a number of vacant units on the site.
The building occupied by BHS accounts for about 20% of total trading space at the Piazza.
The store, featuring clothing, homeware, a restaurant and a food court, was reputedly one of the chain’s most profitable – regularly featuring in the top two or three BHS stores in Yorkshire for trading figures – but that wasn’t enough to save it from the wider issues affecting the firm.