Peterborough BHS first to close its doors for good this week

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Peterborough’s BHS store will be one of the first to close its doors for the final time this Saturday, July 23.

The Queensgate branch is one of 20 stores named for closure by the administrators because stock levels have fallen so low. Around 580 staff will be affected.

However, the future looks bleak for those remaining 143 stores as last ditch efforts are made to find a buyer.

The move marks another grim milestone in the demise of BHS, which was controversially sold by tycoon Sir Philip Green for £1 last year.

Up to 11,000 workers face the axe if no buyers for the others stores are found, although Sir Philip has offered jobs to around 1,000 staff in his other high street chains.

It came as Sir Philip claims he offered £5million of his own money to broker a rescue of BHS by fellow billionaire Mike Ashley.

In a letter to MPs, the tycoon said allegations he tried to block the last ditch sale to Sport Direct founder Ashley were “nonsense.”

Sir Philip says, during a meeting at his Arcadia headquarters on April 27 this year, Mr Ashley offered to keep all BHS stores open and safeguard jobs until the end of 2016.

But administrators were unwilling to accept Mr Ashley’s offer of £10m for BHS’s stock.

Sir Philip’s letter to a joint Commons committee probing the collapse of BHS went on: “It appeared that £15m to close the deal would work and I therefore offered the additional £5m to try to help the business be sold as a going concern.”

The deal fell through although Mr Ashley was last month still interested in buying up to 80 BHS stores.

The first 20 stores to close are:

Peterborough

South Shields

Slough

Truro

Hartlepool

Stirling

Lisburn (outskirts of Belfast)

High Wycombe

Ashford, Kent

Clydebank

Preston

St Helens

Yeovil

Basildon

Southport

Newport

Stratford Upon Avon

Warrington

Wigan

Burton on Trent