Indie department store chain Beales said like-for-like sales including concessions and VAT for the 45 weeks to September 11 dropped 1.7%, impacted by a fall-off in big ticket sales.
Total group sales including concessions and VAT for the 45 week period rose 0.8% year-on-year. Sales were strong in womenswear and linens.
In the last quarter the department store added two new stores to the portfolio, including Robbs of Hexham in June which was refurbished and relaunched on September 1.
Beales also completed its second acquisition on September 5, to be the anchor store to The Market Place shopping centre in Rochdale. The store will trade under the name of Whitakers.
Gross margin including concessions for the second half was marginally below the previous year while the retailer said that it was maintaining a “vigorous” approach to expense control, with like-for-like costs during the period lower than the previous year.
Beales has also secured a £9m term loan with a renewed operating overdraft of £112,000 with HSBC for a two-year period.
In a statement Beales said: “The retail outlook continues to be challenging, but the board believes the strategies and actions that have been and are being taken are beginning to show improving returns.”
Beales’ full-year results will be issued on October 30.