Takeover deal for Palmers in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft to complete at midnight
PUBLISHED: 12:51 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:09 27 November 2018
The last two branches of an historic East Anglian department store have been sold - with the new owners promising more product lines and big sale promotions.
Palmers in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft will become part of the Beales group from midnight tonight after late-night talks lead to agreement in the early hours of today, Tuesday.
Staff were gathered in all stores, including Beales in Lowestoft and Beccles for the announcement delivered by Bruce Sturrock in Yarmouth and Wendy Cole in Lowestoft.
It comes just months after a previous takeover bid by Beales was dropped and ends 180 years of family ownership.
Tony Brown, chief executive for Beales, said the deal was the best way to cement the survival of the two coastal stores.
He said: “The last attempt was aborted not through Beales, we still wanted to do the deal, but our parent company at that time decided they did not want to progress the risk.
“I have since bought Beales. I now own the business and the first thing I did was pick up the phone to Bruce because I am that confident in both Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
“We have come to an agreement. It is a friendly take over.”
Under the deal Bournemouth-based Beales which already has 21 stores has acquired the lease to both stores.
Mr Brown said front of house and most back office staff would be safe.
Those that were going would be made redundant with severance packages.
Contracts were exchanged at 1am this morning.
“Everyone seems to be pleased and relieved,” Mr Brown said.
He added that Beales had bought all the assets including the name and that where other stores had been re-branded - albeit with a nod to the original owners - it never quite caught on.
Of the Yarmouth flagship store he said: “I can tell you no-one will ever call it Beales.”
In Lowestoft where there is already a Beales he said there were no plans to close either store although the format could change.
Customers would see new product lines, he said, particularly in the domestic and electrical department, and could expect to see more big sale promotions.
“The first time I came to Yarmouth I thought it was a great town to do business in. It is our kind of town,” he added.
The stores will honour all gift vouchers.
The Market Place business was started by Garwood Palmer Burton in 1837 – and remains on the same site, though much expanded.
Palmers entered Lowestoft in 2004 when it took over the store previously known as Chadds, which in itself had 100 years of history behind it.
In recent years Palmers has announced closures of its stores at Bury St Edmunds and Dereham.