Retail Stores Handling Boys' Clothing: British Home Stores--BHS (England)

Figure 1.--

The British Home Stores (BHS) are one of the largest retail chain stoes handling clothing in the United Kingdom. BHS opened its doors for the first time in Brixton in 1928. The highest price of any item sold in the first store was one shilling. From the very beginning BHS stores sold lighting and had self-service cafés and food departments. British Home Stores became a public company in 1931. After the War in 1945, BHS decided price should not be the Company's sole marketing strategy, so BHC introduced a policy of quality and value-for-money that continues today. A British reader tells us the BHS and other chain store had a major impact on school clothes in the 1960s. Primary schools in England did not begin requiring uniforms until after World War II. Uniforms we common at private schools, but not at state primaries. Unforms at primary schools became increasingly common in the late 50s and early 60s. Our reader who attended a Church of England primary in the 1960s tells us, "I have mentioned how mass-production and the big chain stores like BHS getting into school uniforms changed things during the time that I was at primary school. When I first started boys would wear all sorts of different clothes - they fitted the uniform requirements but some would have knitted socks or jumpers (which didn't have colours on them - they just had to be grey). Also there was a variety of shirts and shorts made by different manufacturers and bought in various shops. .... By the time that I was in the top class (1970) and my brother had moved on to secondary school nearly all the boys in my class had exactly the same type of school clothes bought at BHS and those who didn't were teased even though their clothes were perfectly acceptable." There is a fuller discussion of this trend in Bill's school section. BHS in 1985 launched a successful overseas program with their first franchise store in Gibraltar. The overseas stores proved very popular and BHC now has franchises in Europe and the Middle East. These outlets mirror the appearance of the UK stores and sell most merchandise ranges. They operate under licence from BHS, but and are not directly owned by the company. BHS in 1986 merged with Habitat/Mothercare to form Storehouse plc. The influence of design had a stronger presence within our merchandise ranges and store design and 'BHS' replaced British Home Stores as the registered company name, reinforced by a new company logo and corporate image. Phillip Green In in May 2000 bought BHS from the Storehouse Group. Bhs Ltd is now a private retailer. Bhs in 2001 stocked traditional school shorts for 13 year olds.


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Created: 5:43 PM 8/31/2006
Last updated: 5:43 PM 8/31/2006