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BhS goes One Up today

A NEW chain of stores is to be launched on Britain's high streets today as Storehouse begins the conversion of some of its BhS outlets to One Up shops.

Sixteen of the group's 136 BhS stores are to be converted to One Up over the next five weeks. The first two, in Tooting and Hounslow, are due to open this morning, having been converted from the BhS fascia yesterday. The new stores will offer a cheaper range of clothing and household goods than in BhS stores, although Storehouse prefers to describe them as appealing to the 'thrifty shopper' rather than as discount stores.

The stores earmarked for conversion to One Up have been suffering from BhS's decision two-and-a-half years ago to re-focus its stores to appeal to more upmarket consumers.

'We realised that some stores had been declining, although they did very well when we had a sale. But, with the new strategy, they were likely to get worse rather than better,' said Simon Hughes, the BhS director responsible for One Up. A study of the market initially identifed nine stores that should focus on the middle market.

Among the other stores to be converted are those in Motherwell, Wigan, Walsall, Chatham and Margate. Mr Hughes said their sales per square foot were below the pounds 200 average for the group. Some BhS outlets have achieved pounds 400 a square foot but the worst performers are as low as pounds 100.

Converting the stores will cost less than pounds 1m.

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