BHS will be holding 'closing sales' over the coming weeks following confirmation today that the high-street institution is to be wound down.

The 88-year-old company will be closing its 163 stores for good, with the loss of up to 11,000 jobs after attempts to sell the struggling business as 'a going concern' hit a dead end.

When BHS first entered administration, customers were told they wouldn't be able to get refunds for items bought before 22 April and gift cards could only be redeemed if shoppers spent twice their value.

Now the company is to be wound down, we contacted the BHS press enquiries team for clarification on what this means for customers, but were told to contact the administrators Duff & Phelps instead, as BHS isn't commenting.

Martin Lewis
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How long have I got to buy something in the BHS closing sales?

MSE understands that BHS stores are likely to close in around eight weeks' time. No date for the closure of online ordering has yet been announced.

You can still buy items from BHS for the time being, but if you want to try to bag yourself a bargain then it would probably be a good idea to head into your nearest store sooner rather than later.

Can I still purchase items online?

When the company first entered administration, BHS said it expected all online orders to be honoured – but it couldn't guarantee that would be the case.

At the time of writing, we were still able to access the payment page on BHS's online store, but, of course, physically leaving the store with the items in your hand once you've paid is the only way of making sure you receive the goods.

What if I've already ordered something online?

We rang BHS's customer services line to ask this question and were told by an adviser that "as far as they knew" online orders were still being honoured.

However, a number of customers raised concerns when the company first fell into administration after the BHS customer service team informed them that their outstanding orders would not be delivered.

BHS did confirm back in April that consumers' statutory rights wouldn't be affected by the administration process.

This means if you decided you didn't want to risk waiting for your goods to arrive and you've ordered online or over the phone, you should be able to cancel the order under the Consumer Contracts Regulations (2013) and get the cost of the order refunded.

Again, we'll update this section of the story when we know more.

What if I've got a gift card?

Under insolvency law, when a retailer goes into administration, they don't have to honour gift cards or vouchers. Despite this, BHS previously agreed to continue to accept gift cards and vouchers following its slide into administration.

But one big caveat was that you would have had to spend double the voucher's value to redeem it (eg, if it was worth £10, you needed to spend £20 to use it).

This policyhasn't changed; however a message at the bottom of the online payment page on the BHS website states: "Gift cards and vouchers can currently only be redeemed in store".

BHS holding 'closing sales' as it shuts up shop – what it means for you

What's BHS's returns policy now its closure has been confirmed?

A message at the bottom of the online payment page on the BHS website currently states: "During administration online orders can be returned within 14 days of delivery via post or courier (not in store)".

BHS amended its returns policies after going into administration. Before, the firm allowed customers to exchange or refund items within 45 days of purchase, either online or in store.

When it went into administration, BHS said its policy had changed so that customers couldn't get a refund for anything purchased before 22 April 2016 – even if it was faulty. Though if you could provide proof of purchase you would be able to exchange a faulty or unwanted item for a replacement of the same value or less.

If you'd bought an item from BHS from 22 April onwards, it said at the time that you'd be able to get a refund if a product was faulty – but all refunds required a store manager's authorisation. Unwanted goods bought from BHS on or after 22 April could only be exchanged for something of equal value or less.

What are my rights once BHS ceases trading?

If a company is unable to deliver items or issue refunds, customers still have some rights and can apply to become creditors.

This means that once all the company's large debts are paid off, including employees' wages, the rest of the money is divided up between customers who have registered as creditors.

To do this, you'd need to apply to the administrators Duff & Phelps. Though you may not get all your money back – if any – as priority will go to paying off the company's bigger debts.

What do the administrators say?

"Despite the considerable efforts of the administrators and BHS senior management, it has not been possible to agree a sale of the business.

"Although multiple offers were received, none were able to complete a deal due to the working capital required to secure the future of the company.

"Our thoughts today are with the employees. We thank them for their professionalism and hard work. We would also like to thank the great British public for helping us in our efforts to save BHS resulting in several weeks of significant sales."

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