‘I want to sell steak cheap, not cheap steak’: Sir Philip Green defends his revamp of aspirational but affordable women's fashion at BHS, that will appeal to ‘style-savvy women in their forties and fifties’

By Scarlett Russell


You wouldn’t normally describe the British high street department store, BHS, as being cool or edgy.

But in a bid to shake off it’s dowdy image, the Middle England staple is planning a revamp this week, to appeal to more style-savvy customers.

Whilst it’s current demographic are generally female pensioners, BHS’s new fashion line will target a younger group – women in their forties and fifties.

Makeover: In a bid to shake off it's dowdy image, British high street department store BHS is planning a revamp this week to appeal to more style-savvy customers

Makeover: In a bid to shake off it's dowdy image, British high street department store BHS is planning a revamp this week to appeal to more style-savvy customers

New and improved: Whilst it's current demographic are generally female pensioners, BHS's new fashion line will target a younger group - women in their forties and fifties

New and improved: Whilst it's current demographic are generally female pensioners, BHS's new fashion line will target a younger group - women in their forties and fifties

The Sunday Times reports that BHS’s new clothing line has taken inspiration from French designer Isabel Marant, whose trademark looks include biker boots, boho-style smocks and dresses and faux fur shearling.

 

‘We are going to provide aspirational clothing that’s good quality and good value,’ said the store’s owner, Sir Philip Green.

‘The expression I use in my office is that I want to sell steak cheap, not cheap steak – there is a difference.’

BHS plans a revamp
Isabel Marant S/S 2014 catwalk shot

BHS's  womenswear, left, is having an overhaul and taking inspiration from high-end designers such Isabel Marant who's faux shearling gilets and boho-style dresses, right, they have coveted

Sir Philip, whose Arcadia group includes Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, says the BHS makeover will improve the flailing brand’s quality and fashion credential.

'I want to sell steak cheap, not cheap steak-  there is a difference,' says Sir Philip

'I want to sell steak cheap, not cheap steak- there is a difference,' says Sir Philip

BHS has been a staple on middle England’s high street since 1928, but having to rival against the likes of Debenhams, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, BHS struggled to kept up.

In 2010, BHS changed its logo, resurrecting the uppercase form of the abbreviation that had not been used since the Storehouse re-brand and the later re-brand in the 1990s.

But in 2013 it reported a loss of £71 million.

Sir Phillip, however, the man responsible for Kate Moss’s sell-out collaborations with Topshop, was never going to up on BHS without a fight.

Earlier this year, he announced plans to introduce 50 new food halls and a range of high-quality homeware in vamped-up shops, as well as the it’s womenswear overhaul.

Sara Bradley, BHS’s womenswear director said: ‘Our biggest challenge is changing the perception around BHS womenswear clothing.

'Home and lighting is a forte of the business and we want to get the rest of the brand up to that level.’

The comments below have not been moderated.

That emaciated woman in photo four looks absolutely terrible.

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Well I've been to your store today and apart from the clothes from wallis, its still very old fashioned.

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I think they've improved and would definitely shop there.

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I remember shopping with my mum in BHS food department when I was little.

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Long overdue!

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Sir Philip/ you have the opportunity to do something great with BHS-make it a fashion go-to for women in their late 40's-50's upwards forget the young-you have enough shops that cater to them...do what M&S; should have done years ago...believe me, there is an enormous market out there and we have money to spend!!! AND please use the appropriate aged models!!!

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dismal gloomy store selling rubbish clothes that sir Phill and his daughter Chloe would not be seen dead in

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I have a few bits from BHS that are really nice, they also sell lovely bags. My winter coat was 60 pounds from there 12 years ago and still looks new as it is pure wool. I am 53 and not a frump. I also have beautiful lamps from there that are 15 years old and I even have a column lamp from about 1970 that belonged to my parents.

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Mr Green...I like and admire you...but you have got a lemon with BHS....they have shops in Cheltenham and Gloucester close to where I live and I have never been in such souless depressing shops.....the only good thing about them is the sale they have of their Christmas gifts...so basically some tat once a year gets me in there....and I am the demographic (coming up to 40) that you are hoping to attract. If you think women in their 40's and 50's are suddenly going to change allegiance from M & S, Topshop (yes, I go in there still) or wherever then you are going to be in for a shock....sell the stock off, stop paying the rents/rates and move on....it just won't work....you are the financial whizzkid not me !

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The clothes and quality are appalling, as is the customer service! It all sucks!

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