Sir Philip Green has sold department store chain BHS to investment vehicle Retail Acquisitions Ltd.

BHS Middleton Grange

BHS was part of the Arcadia Group, controlled by Sir Philip, which includes TopShop and Burton and Evans.

Sir Philip said in a statement today: “I am pleased that we have found a buyer in Retail Acquisitions Ltd who wants to develop the BHS brand.

“Having acquired the business nearly 15 years ago in May 2000, one of my clear objectives in identifying a purchaser was ensuring their desire to take the business forward.”

“BHS has a strong portfolio of 171 store sites throughout the UK, significant assets, long-standing and loyal suppliers and great international franchise partners. I am deeply proud of the work ethic displayed by the very many people I have worked with for so long at BHS, both within our Head Office and across the stores.

“I would also like to thank the very many loyal and dedicated customers who shop with BHS, visit our cafes and use our website on a regular basis, and hope that they will continue to do so.”

Keith Smith, the chairman of Retail Acquisitions, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into this iconic British high street brand. We are convinced that with strategic and focussed support we will return BHS to profitability, and safeguard the workforce.”

“By backing the existing management and investing in their plan, we are confident that we can build upon many of the initiatives already in place. In addition, Retail Acquisitions Ltd will appoint a BHS chairman with significant retail experience and further retail turnaround experts in due course. ”

According to the BBC, the company was sold debt free, and that the asking price for BHS could have been as low as £1.

In 2013, BHS lost £69.6m on £675.7m of sales, down 3.5% on the previous year.

Founded in 1928 in Brixton, BHS has 180 stores and employs almost 12,000 staff.

Retail Acquisitions Ltd was set up early last year and is backed by a number of investors, including brokers and lawyers.