Outlook: Storehouse gloom
Friday 19 November 1999
It's been downhill for so long now that it's hard to remember the glory days, when Habitat was a retail formula to die for and Sir Terence, flanked by Roger Seelig, revealed his merger with Mothercare to an astonished City. Bhs followed not long after. That was when the men in grey suits took over and it all started to go wrong.
Habitat went ages ago. Keith Edelman, who had attempted and failed to run what remained for cash, went in May. Since then, Alan Smith, the chairman, has been combing the world for someone to take the rest off his hands as well. Unsurprisingly, he has failed too. So now he's down to doing the splits, like so many crisis-torn companies before him. It's worked for some when all else fails. Both ICI and Hanson carried it off with aplomb and it plainly did wonders for the former British Gas. National Power, another basket case, is also hoping it offers salvation.
The scale of the losses and dividend cut announced by Storehouse yesterday amply demonstrate quite how rotten things are for our established high street clothing retailers. Splitting Mothercare from Bhs won't of itself make things better and although Mr Smith offers a very credible strategy for improvement, it is hard as things stand to see why customers should return.
The problems of Bhs and Mothercare are on a lesser scale to those of Marks and Spencer, but they are no less daunting for it. All three need creativity and flair, of the type that Sir Terence once had in spades, to reinvigorate them. Other than through takeover, it's not clear where it is going to come from. The demerger should at least make these chains easier to buy.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...