Beales is latest UK department store to see decline

Operating losses have widened at English department store chain Beales despite ongoing efforts to reduce costs and close loss-making stores, with the retailer blaming the ‘Beast from the East’ weather front for its declining performance.


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Losses grew to £0.9 million in financial year 2017/2018 ended 31 March from £0.6 million a year earlier, accounts filed with Companies House have revealed.

The results echo those of other British department stores, including House of Fraser, M&S and Debenhams, which have also seen profits slump over the last year after facing a multitude of pressures as a result of the decline in the UK retail industry.

Beales said that despite the “challenging times driven by extreme weather”, the actions being taken to improve productivity will help it minimise the impact of any downturn.

During financial year 2017/2018, it reviewed all its costs and made costs savings which are expected to be increased over the next two years as it implements a wide ranging new strategy across its store estate and head office.

In July, the company backtracked on plans to buy two department stores in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft and said it will focus instead on driving its new online channel. Launched during the financial period, the retailer said its transactional website is “meeting our initial expectations” and will open a small fulfilment centre to expand its offer of own brand product.

Turnover for the period fell £6.2 million to £48.7 million, but Beales said its trading strategy is now starting to show signs of positive growth after seeing Christmas sales rise by 4.2% on the previous year.

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