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Philip Green Eyes Convenience Food to Stem ‘Annoying’ BHS Losses

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Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Philip Green plans to introduce a convenience food offering across his BHS outlets to help revive the unprofitable U.K. chain and pit it against grocers like Tesco Plc and discounter Aldi.

As many as 150 of the retailer’s more than 180 British stores could offer food, Green, 61, said today in an telephone interview. The chain’s customers want to buy food, he said, citing the results of market research conducted for BHS.

“We are in the process and have a model for convenience stores in BHS,” Green said. The entrepreneur also said he’s not discussing a sale of the chain following a Nov. 10 Sunday Times report that BHS has attracted attention from bidders including South African billionaire Christo Wiese.

Green has owned BHS since 2000, though the business has struggled amid rising competition in clothing and home furnishings and a subdued consumer climate. That’s partly offset the growth of Green’s TopShop and TopMan fashion chains, which are expanding into international markets such as the U.S.

BHS’s losses are “annoying as opposed to life-threatening,” Green said, declining to be more specific.

Green’s Arcadia Group today reported pretax profit of 167.8 million pounds ($269 million) before one-time items for the year ended Aug. 31, little changed from the previous year’s 166.9 million pounds. Revenue increased 2.1 percent to 2.74 billion pounds, though same-store sales fell 2.7 percent.

The decline in comparable sales accelerated to 3.7 percent in the first 10 weeks of the new financial year, weighed down by unseasonably wet and mild fall weather, Green said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Jarvis in London at pjarvis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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