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The Guardian: "If BHS can fold, then how safe are M&S and John Lewis?"

"The problems that finally killed off British Home Stores could easily apply to other department stores we regard as institutions"

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"It has been a fixture on so many high streets. It has traded for 88 years. But today, British Home Stores is going into administration, with the loss of 11,000 jobs. In retrospect, its fate was probably sealed a year ago, when the entrepreneur Philip Green sold the company for the token sum of £1.

"... You can say, all worldly wise, that it was bound to fail. But will it be a one-off? I doubt it. That description of BHS – enormous spaces, prominent positions on the high street, the attempts to please everyone, the regular rebranding, the diversification – applies also to others. M&S would be one – might it one day become food-only? Debenhams? Even, dare I say it, the sainted John Lewis?

"It could be that the classic department store is in decline, not just because of technology, but because of changing habits and taste. How many of the shops regarded as institutions will still be around in, say, 20 years' time?"

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