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Gloom at Beales as sales fall 6.4%

Like-for-like sales at Beales dropped 6.4% for the 26 weeks to May 3 and the department store group warned it did not foresee any improvement in trading for the rest of the year.

Beales’ gross sales – which includes sales generated by its concession partners – dropped 14.5% to £27 million over the period, partly because of the closure of its store in Ealing, west London, last October.

Beales said that long-term success depended on reversing the decline in sales but added in a statement that it did not expect a significant improvement in the current financial year.

Pre-tax profits rose slightly from £875,000 last year to £881,000 for the period but this was boosted by substantial cost cuts.
Tony Brown, previously retail director at Bhs, joined Beales as chief executive at the beginning of June to replace Allan Allkins, who has retired. Brown is developing a strategy for the department store group to be outlined at the company’s full-year results. Beales chairman Mike Killingley said: “The deterioration of the UK economy since this time last year has dramatically affected consumer confidence and it seems likely that the economy will remain depressed for some time.”

Killingley added: “Our senior management team, under Tony Brown, is developing its strategy to deliver such improvements and we will report on this strategy and its implementation more fully at the time of the full-year results. We do not anticipate any significant improvement in sales during the rest of the current financial year.”

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