Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market’s fate shows retailers need physical stores and website to survive

Published: 1 June 2018 - Fiona Garcia
UK department stores need to take a multi-channel sales approach, with high street stores and a website, says Parcel Hero
UK department stores need to take a multi-channel sales approach, with high street stores and a website, says Parcel Hero

Yesterday’s announcement that Al Manna Group would be scrapping the resurrected BHS website demonstrates that UK department stores, can only survive by employing a multi-channel sales approach that incorporates both high street shops and a website, says online delivery firm, Parcel Hero.

British Home Stores collapsed into administration in 2016 under a cloud of recriminations around pension problems and lack of investment. Whilst the last of the high street stores closed their doors over the August Bank holiday weekend that year, a new UK website,, was launched in September 2016 to focus on the former department store’s most popular lines, playing to its key strengths of lighting, bedding and bathroom. The online offer continued to expand to incorporate kitchen, dining ware as well as clothing. Now’s parent company, Al Manna, has decided to pull the plug on the site, which will cease trading by June 27.

E-commerce delivery specialist Parcel Hero says the decision comes as no surprise, despite the fact reported a 43% rise in sales earlier this year.

Parcel Hero head of consumer research, David Jinks MILT said: “Our new study, Departing Department Stores, highlighted the fact that department stores need a balance of attractive ‘event shopping’ high street stores, and a great online presence that mirrors the experience. We have been very critical of stores like Fenwick’s/Bentalls that don’t even let you purchase from their site yet! Department stores can only survive with a multi-channel approach.”

He added: “ never really grabbed consumer’s awareness – and perhaps the BHS name is just too tarnished in the UK. Just the same happened to Woolworths here. After its collapse in 2009, a new website site promised to restore the wonder of Woolies online, but that too couldn’t stand alone, and its owners eventually merged it with Very. Former high street brands’ moves to online-only sales don’t seem to have a great success rate.”

“The old BHS stores’ site,, was very clunky – and even took you to a separate white label site that didn’t integrate at all well, for large items. The new site was a big improvement - but not good enough to stand alone. Worryingly for Debenhams and House of Fraser, they still use other retailers’ white label sites for some larger items – and the join is still pretty poor. Debenham’s large electrical products actually link to a Buy it Direct white label site – the company that used to run the old BHS large items’ site. In 2018, no matter how sales and logistics are structured behind the scenes, online shoppers should never notice the join.’

Al Manna has said that it plans to concentrate on the BHS international franchise business, which it also acquired when it bought the BHS brand in 2016. Overseas the BHS name does not carry the same reputation and stores are operating profitably in Europe and the Middle East.


(Your email address will not be published)
Already Registered?
Sign In
Not Yet Registered?
Printable View E-mail Bookmark

What do you think?

As we near the end of the summer season, which category is the biggest for you in the build up to autumn and winter?

Latest reader comments

re: Homebase announces CVA proposal and will cut thousands of jobs

Real shame, this was once a brand with an identity and had a strategy of concessions in Habitat , Argos , coffee shops and other concession ...

re: Clas Ohlson to close Croydon store, as it continues to “optimise” UK store base

Dene Presley
this is what is happening because of future technology as the internet shopping is on a rise It’s sad news this shop is closing It’s a ...

re: Long reach sander from QEP

Dermot Connaughton
I want one of these immediately for a house I'm doing up with very high celings.Where in Ireland can I buy one or would you please supply ...

re: New Flashing Tape from Sylglas Fuels Profit Boost for Retailers

Gel Jones
Responding to a TEN YEAR old post is not the way to ask!Heard of Google?...

re: excels in Which? website survey

Graham Bel
I was served by Alisha today and would like to say she was very accommodating and would recommended anyone to be served by her, thankyou ...

Most read stories

Blog and Comment

Dawn of a new age in customer service

Customer service used to be about answering telephones and responding to written requests, but our fast paced, social media driven society ... Read More >>