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BHS closure confirmed as bank seeks to move into vacant store
A BANK says it is being forced out of the Westgate Centre after unveiling plans to move into the nearby site due to be vacated by BHS.
Lloyds Banking Group has applied for planning permission to turn the BHS store in Queen Street into a Halifax bank.
It comes a day after the Oxford Mail revealed that BHS would be closing in May – putting dozens of jobs at risk.
In its application, Lloyds Banking Group – which has occupied the unit near the entrance of the Westgate Centre since 1972 – said it has been told to leave because of the planned £400m redevelopment of Westgate.
The company’s agent, Haris Kasuji, said: “The Halifax is being forced to relocate from their existing unit at the entrance to the scheme and have no choice but to find alternative representation elsewhere in the city in order to facilitate the redevelopment.”
Yesterday, the Oxford Mail revealed BHS had written to employees at the store on the corner of Queen Street and St Ebbe’s telling them it would be closing in May.
Arcadia, the company which owns BHS, confirmed the news today and said staff could transfer to one of its sister chains such as Dorothy Perkins or TopShop.
Arcadia spokesman Karin Donnelly said: “BHS can confirm the Oxford store is closing on May 10, 2014. BHS endeavours to redeploy staff within the chain and other Arcadia brands where possible.
“Arcadia continually evaluates and reshapes its store portfolio alongside investing in the digital platforms to offer a nationwide service.”
The Westgate Alliance did not comment.
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