Beales has added another two stores to its estate through the acquisition of Palmers, subsequently increasing its vulnerability to the challenges that plague the high street while other department store chains downsize.
The deal will see Beales takeover Palmers’ sole two stores in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft in East Anglia, as well as its leases, assets and name.
This means Palmers’ run of being family-owned for 180 years will come to an end.
Chief executive Tony Brown – who took over Beales in a management buyout scheme just last month – told regional newspapers that the majority of Palmers’ front of house and back office staff are expected to keep their jobs.
However, he said Palmers’ central support functions would be closed down.
The acquisition comes after an initial takeover bid last summer was shelved by Beales’ then-parent company, which decided not to progress with it given the challenging market and an issue around the property deal.
Brown said the latest takeover bid was negotiated within a week of instructing law firm Blake Morgan.
The successful acquisition brings the total number of stores in Beales’ portfolio to 23.
Department stores have been under pressure in recent months, with major chains Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser grabbing headlines in recent months with news of store closures and job cuts.
Brown told regional newspapers that although Beales’ flagship in Bournemouth is near a House of Fraser and a Debenhams, most of its stores did not face the same competition.