SHOPPERS were out in force looking for a bargain as Brighton's BHS prepared to close its doors for a final time.

The store in Churchill Square has been a permanent fixture on the high street in the city for decades but workers literally shut up shop at 5.30pm yesterday.

Maud Baldacchiao, 49, was one of many shoppers hunting for a good deal across the store's two floors when The Argus went there yesterday.

The holidaymaker said: “In store there was 80% discount so there were some good bargains.

"But I am sad to see the shop go because I use to buy a lot things when I came here on holiday from Malta. They had some nice things."

The cafe had already shut and shelves were barren yesterday but long queues snaked around the store as customers took advantage of heavily discounted clothes.

But emotions were also running high as many shoppers struggled to come to terms with the closure.

Len White, 63, of Brighton said: “I’m not happy with it, I’ve been shopping here for about 40 years.”

Tracey Clark, 49, who was visiting from Oxford, said: "It is a real sad time. I live in Oxford and we use to have a BHS there so we grew up with it. It’s been part of our life always.”

Her uncle Derek Voyzey, 58, of Eastbourne added: "I think Sir Philip Green should be thoroughly ashamed of himself."

A store employee said around 50 staff would be losing their job, but many had left already.

Agency worker Rogerio Calaca, 36, of Brighton said he had been working at BHS for the last three weeks and described how you could "feel the emotion".

Many former workers also came to the store to look around one last time.

One, who did not wish to be named, said he had worked at the store for the last six years but missed out on a redundancy payment after finding another job.

He said: “I’m sad to see the staff go, but as a company BHS didn’t give a damn about these people - it all came down to profits and margins."

Outside the shop, Karen Humphrey, 57, of Brighton was angry with the way the store had treated her daughter who was doing her last shift at the store.

Mrs Humphrey said: “I can’t believe BHS is going and I can’t believe Philip Green has got away with it. I just feel so sorry for the staff and the clothes were such good quality.”

BHS went into administration in April, one year after retail billionaire Sir Philip Green sold the chain to serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015.

Sussex's flagship Brighton store is one of seven BHS stores in the county to close including Worthing, Horsham, Eastbourne, Crawley, Chichester and Hastings.

BHS in Brighton was one of 35 remaining stores to close this week.


AS THE Brighton branch of BHS closed for the last time, the men behind the failed department store chain continued to come under the microscope.

A politician investigating the collapse of BHS criticised Sir Philip Green, the mogul who sold the chain for £1 to Dominic Chappell, for his tussle last week with journalists who questioned him as he boarded his £100 million superyacht Lionheart in Greece.

Iain Wright, co-chairman of the parliamentary committee that has interrogated Green, said there was a stark contrast between his wealth and thousands of former shop workers.

He said: “There will be people who have worked long and hard for many years at BHS... the contrast is very striking.”

Mr Wright was frustrated with progress since Green appeared in front of MPs two months ago but vowed to keep pressure on the tycoon.

Green took more than £400 million in dividends from BHS and left it with a £571 million pension deficit.

Meanwhile, serial bankrupt Chappell has told a court he would struggle to afford taxis and gets “abuse” when he takes the train.

Chappell, who was given a six-month driving ban for speeding on Tuesday, also said it would be a “stretch” for him to pay for a chauffeur, despite declaring an annual income of more than £250,000.

The 49-year-old, who lives in Dorset, was driving a Range Rover in Andover when police clocked him driving at an average speed of 63mph on April 6.

Chappell pleaded with Aldershot Magistrates’ Court not to take his licence away.

He was given six points for his latest speeding offence, bringing the total on his licence up to 16, was fined £665 and ordered to pay £150 in costs.