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Beales stores at risk as company puts itself up for sale

PUBLISHED: 14:05 18 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:28 19 December 2019

Beales Department Store in Diss. Picture: Anthony Carroll

Beales Department Store in Diss. Picture: Anthony Carroll

Archant

A department store chain with sites across the county has put itself up for sale as it attempts to battle tough high street conditions.

Palmers department store on Market Place in Great Yarmouth. Picture: ArchantPalmers department store on Market Place in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Archant

Beales has confirmed it is working with KPMG to review its financial position - and is reportedly looking to close a number of stores.

The 138-year-old department store chain has outlets in Diss and Beccles.

Beales also owns the Palmers department store in Great Yarmouth, having closed the Beales Lowestoft site in January.

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According to the Press Association, the Bournemouth-based group is looking to close a small number of its 22 stores and will also seek to slash rent.

Conversely the group has also said it wants to buy new sites, to expand a format that has seen early successes in its new Fareham branch.

The group added it is looking for investment to "deliver a sustainable business model for the future" with a refocus on homewares, small domestic appliances, fashion accessories and shoes.

Beales, which was founded in 1881 by John Elmes Beale, employs around 1,300 staff and another 300 in concessions.

It was sold in a management buy-out to group chief executive Anthony Brown in October last year.

Beales launched a strategy overhaul in early 2019 to revamp its ranges, which it said is showing "significant sales improvements".

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