Sir Philip Green finds an appetite for BHS convenience food outlets

 

Sir Philip Green's BHS is to open convenience food outlets in up to 150 of his BHS stores as the billionaire retailer eyes a fresh battle for customers with the supermarket chains and Marks & Spencer.

It comes on the same day as Asda, the UK's third-biggest supermarket, said it also wanted to expand into convenience stores for the first time after refusing for years to follow its rivals Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.

Topshop's owner Sir Philip said he has already seen a prototype of what the food offering could look like and explained it would be run by BHS rather than introducing a third-party business. It could be rolled out as soon as early next year.

The plan could mark a major change of direction for BHS, which has been under pressure in recent years from high-end rivals including Debenhams and John Lewis and discounter Primark. It has also been the subject of a possible takeover by the South African billionaire Christo Weise.

Sir Philip's comments came as he revealed sales across his Arcadia business, which includes Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, were up to £2.7bn last year from £2.6bn, with underlying, pre-tax profits up slightly to £167m. Like-for-like sales were down 2.7 per cent.

He said: "We have 150 stores that can sell food. We've never sold food before and the great thing is if we get it wrong we can always eat it ourselves.

"Convenience is where all the supermarkets seem to be going. We've got the sites so we might as well have a shot at it." He said it was too early to say how much the project would cost or who the target market would be, but added that a new food boss would be required.

"If we're going to do it then we will want someone world class."

Meanwhile at Asda, the chief executive, Andy Clarke, said the company was starting a five year transformation plan, which will see £1bn spent on keeping its prices lower – usually by selling some key items at a loss – and a further £250m on rebranding and improving its offer.

He was particularly keen to moving into health and wellbeing also he said more details would be revealed next year.

Part of his plans is to introduce convenience stores, but not until at least 2018.

He said: "It was not necessarily a eureka moment and we've been very clear that we will be focusing on our core businesses of super stores, super centres and supermarkets first, but recognise a £36bn market that Asda isn't in, in physical space, is a market we should consider and explore and find a solution."

However, Mr Clarke was cautious about the price points, stressing he was keen to maintain the same prices in his supermarkets and in the potential convenience stores – unlike rivals who charge more in high street sites.

The decision to expand into convenience stores comes as Asda revealed like-for-like sales were up 0.3 per cent in the 13 weeks to beginning of October, its 12th consecutive quarter of growth.

Online sales topped £1bn for the first time and Clarke said he hopes to improve this by hitting £3bn by 2018 with 1,000 click and collect points across the country.

Retail reverse: Surprise fall in sales

Shoppers waited before stocking up the winter wardrobe last month and triggered a surprise decline in retail sales, official figures showed.

A mild and wet October sent retail sales volumes including petrol down a surprise 0.7 per cent, confounding expectations for flat month-on-month sales. The ONS showed the biggest decline in clothing stores – down 2.8 per cent in October – but household goods and department stores also suffered falls.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect