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Beales to acquire 19 department stores

Beales, the department store chain, is to more than double its store numbers with the acquisition of 19 stores from Anglia Regional Co-operative Society.

Beales is believed to be about to exchange on the 19 Westgate department stores, which will see it’s store numbers reach 32. The £7.5m deal, is believed to have been financed by Anglia Regional Co-operative Society, who will remain shareholders in the department store business via preference shares.

The deal gives the department store business a stronghold in market towns including Chipping Norton, King’s Lynn and Skipton.

Beales has been on the expansion trail over the previous year, when it acquired two stores in Hexham and Rochdale. The Rochdale Westgate department store was acquired in August from Anglia Regional Co-operative Society for £300,000. The Hexham store, Robbs of Hexham, was bought in June for £250,000

Chief executive Tony Brown has previously said that the business’ optimum number of stores would be 35, a number almost reached overnight with the current acquisition.

Last month, the retailer said that gross sales in the 19 weeks to March 12, including concessions and the two new stores acquired in 2010, rose 5.9% compared to a year ago. Like-for-likes fell 6.2%.

Gross sales in the six weeks since January 29 – not including the adverse impact of the snowy weather over the Christmas period - were up 9.4% up on the previous year, with like-for-like sales were 4.7% down. 

The stores acquired are in the following locations:

Bishop Auckland
Chipping Norton
Kings Lynn
Saffron Walden
St Neots


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