Earlier this year, Sir Philip Green sold British Home Stores to relatively unknown company Retail Acquisitions. BHS has continued to trade under their original name, however we were intrigued to see if the new company had updated the store’s visual merchandising.

In October, a new format concept was unveiled at their Watford store, and we thought we would focus our December Retail Audit on this new concept.

A stand out feature that is prominent when first entering the store is the use of feature areas as above. Raised upon plinths, the feature areas consist of mannequins, display stands and bold illuminated graphics. These can be found around the whole store, and provide effective breakpoints for consumers with eye-catching introductions to key categories.


Large format lightboxes are used in abundance throughout the store, utilised in several clever ways, from impromptu walls to using lifestyle imagery to support the products on display.

Similarly, BHS are using ambient graphics to highlight products and sections, ensuring a cost-effective application throughout the store.


Each category and brand concession area has been treated to varying display furniture styles or printed backdrops for differentiation. The Arcadia brands within the store really benefit from this distressed style of displays to the standard freestanding units.

Within the womenswear section, the denim area uses a plywood effect image, which creates a warm and functional atmosphere. This is then supported by a simplistic colour coding system for the several styles of jeans available.


The men’s denim section uses a bold floorboard image, as well as rough concrete finishes to create a strong urban effect. The same colour coding used in the women’s department for the different styles of jeans is also applied here to keep a flow throughout the store.

This new format concept is very important for the future of the company, as BHS aim to re-establish themselves after their recent buy out.

We believe that the design they have delivered creates bold, distinct category areas within the clothing department, whilst using some cost effective treatments.

There is a strong use of imagery, particularly when illuminated and/or in the larger formats, we believe this helps to establish a tone of voice and a lifestyle association really well.

We‘ll keep an eye on BHS and see if this concept will be rolled out across all of their stores.