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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

BHS: The High Chappell: How the wild west (minster) became one less....

Dominic Chappell - denies frigging in the BHS rigging


Julian Bray writes: Why is the demise of BHS being carried on an aviation blog, simply the retail trade is akin to the flying business some survive and others perish but they all need constant change and updating.  British Home Stores, originally set up to rival F W Wooworths & Co, but simply in its final death throws is set to have the last laugh, the Parliamentary Select Committee set up to look at the events leading to the winding up of this retail monolith, have to their credit, and under the mantle of parliamentary privilege, uncovered some interesting 'facts', it has also revealed some square pegs in round holes, and dialogue that would fit well into a 'Minder' script..  


Dominic Chappell, former racing driver, management consultant, dabbles in property, and had a few money problems at one time, was up before the MPs who managed to get some amazing admissions out him, and those before them. Its not so much the  actions of Mr Chappell, but peeling back the management layers, the poor quality of his highly remunerated seemingly pedigree advisors, both professional fee earning and those on a salary package shines through, and one in particular who thought being an interim director on assignment, then offered 'a promotion to a permanent position' he believed it truly was  'a promotion' and advancing his career.


In reality an Interim on a decent assignment fee package is hired to bring in advanced skills, skills way in excess of  the skillset required, for any permanent role  i.e. at a level far in excess of the interim assignment being worked. So it was not an interim role but more 'a temp to perm' arrangement.  


In short, Mr Chappell who admits to knowing nothing about retail was offered a poisoned chalice, and all for a pound - the proverbial peppercorn. In reality Sir Philip Green technically had little legal clout within BHS as his wife Tina on the yacht in offshore Monaco held all the cards  (Gulp, you just somehow know there is no prenup in place....). But his force of personality, backed by a overreaching charge on the properties in the BHS portfolio, virtually made him a shadow director, which may have future legal implications...ho hum... 


It was clear that however you juggled the pack, the Green dynasty had effectively drained every last ounce of profit out of an eleven thousand hardworking staff, over fifteen glorious years, well glorious for the owners, who quite legally took many millions out of the business, and the cherry on the offshore cake Mr Green knighted for his services.... to Retail...


Listening to the exchanges, on the BBC Parliament Channel, you really wanted to scream at the screen. NONE OF THE FINANCIAL ADVISORS SEEMED TO DISPLAY A SHRED OF KNOWLEDGE OF HIGH STREET DEPARMENTAL STORE RETAILING. Most of the stores with large floor areas were on commercial upward only rentals, rather than affordable  rents which would have kept the 'retail' family together. 


If anyone has been in a BHS lately, it looks as if little in the way of internal investment to keep the retail offer fresh and most importantly relevant has been applied. Where was the internet shopping back up to the retail  offer, the liveried BHS home delivery vans and the what were the strange somewhat disjointed BHS Cafes in some major stores, all about?  No logical in store walk flows, and too few cash tills to take the money. Only one visible at the Peterborough store in Queensgate.


Perhaps Mr Chappell has done us all a favour, eleven thousand families  and their friends,  plus many thousands more in the supply and manufacturing chain will remember this failure for many years to come, and they nearly all have votes. Many, many, thousands of votes. So for not preventing situations like BHS, Comet, and many businesses before; so looking on the bright side, we may in years to come lose a few tardy politicians in the great scheme of things....  


Its just a shame by a quirk of TV politics scheduling that Lord Sugar is back on the telly tonight, as is a number of businessman, (the joker up before the MPs was dubbed a businessmen).  Businessmen urging us to stay in Europe.


That is an own goal as if ever there was one... 


But staying in Europe, bolstered by many millions of UK generated pounds and spent in the playgrounds and shipyards of Europe is probably also not the image the Stay Ins really need right now. 


A pink Gin Captain and spin the yacht twice round the Bay...  the e-bay of course, that is the future of retailing, and Amazon, Ali Baba, Next, like the Internet the list is endless...   






JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aviation Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com
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