Revealed: frontage of Newcastle’s new BHS is unwrapped

New BHS, Newcastle (9 Apr 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

New BHS, Newcastle (9 Apr 2012)

As I suspected when I blogged last week, the scaffolding around Newcastle’s new BHS has now been taken down ahead of its opening in ten days’ time.

Though there are still some finishing touches to be made to the exterior, the new glass frontage and BHS signage are in place, and Northumberland Street shoppers can finally see what’s been happening since the scaffolding and wrap went up six months ago. Certainly, the refronted building’s appearance now is very different to how it looked in its Next days (below), as well as challenging people’s perceptions of what a BHS store looks like.

...and the same building when it was Next (5 Feb 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

...and the same building when it was Next (5 Feb 2010)

Fencing around the site made it difficult to get a good look at what was going on inside, but I was able to spot a woman polishing a clothes rail. Presumably the clothes to hang on it will start appearing in the next few days!

As yet, there are no posters in the windows advertising an opening date, but the planned launch on Thursday 19 April certainly seems more plausible now that the building has been unwrapped and the extent of progress is clear.

New BHS, Newcastle (9 Apr 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

New BHS, Newcastle (9 Apr 2012)

I, for one, can’t wait to see whether the quality of the store interior matches the boldness of the frontage. For many years, Newcastle had a typically beige and dreary BHS – of which many examples still remain across the country – and new stores like this one or in Swindon represent an ambitious effort to modernise and reinvent the brand.

However, making nearly 200 UK stores look this good will be a huge undertaking, and the success – or not – of new stores like Newcastle will surely influence the future size and shape of BHS’s presence on the British high street.

Graham Soult

Retail consultant, writer, blogger; helping retailers via and Say hello on Twitter at @soult!

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4 Responses

  1. John Matthews says:

    I have a photograph of the orginal BHS under construction in the late 1920’s early 1930’s by local builders Stanley Miller Limited who were also building the City Hall and Baths, Metrovic House and Singleton House [on Northumberland Road, and the Paramount [Odeon} along with the building which housed BHS and CA Mode among other retailer. Out of all of them We still have Mertovic, the City Hall and Baths and I suppose the inner core of the BHS building, however it looks as though nothing will prevent us losing the Paramount/Odeon. It is only the economic downturn which has meant a delay in the redevelopment of East Pilgrim Street.

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