Beales posts “credible” 3% Christmas sales uptick

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Beales christmas
// Sales up 3% over Christmas
// Figures only based on bricks-and-mortar sales from Beales’ 23 department stores
// CEO and owner Tony Brown warned of “very challenging environment”

Beales has recorded a three per cent uptick in sales during its Christmas trading period, which its chief executive said was a “credible performance” amid warnings of ongoing challenges for the high street.

The results, which covered the four-week period ending New Year’s Day – also came after a somewhat dismal summer for the department store retailer, which operates 23 stores around the UK.

Beales also said individual trading performances for their stores varied during the festive period.

For example, the Poole and Bournemouth stores – which are located relatively close to each other – had contrasting figures.

Poole was “excellent” and didn’t suffer from nearby roadworks while Bournemouth did suffered from roadworks disruption and was one of Beales’ worst-performing stores.

“To be three per cent up is a creditable performance but it’s on the back of a very challenging environment,” Beales chief executive and owner Tony Brown said.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty on Brexit and the economy and so on, which we just have to keep on breaking through.”

Brown said sales from the bags department was positive over Christmas, as were sales from the small electrical appliances category.

He added: “Fashion was still very soft [but] housewares, linens and all those sorts of areas were very strong along with toys and gifts.”

Beales’ sales figures only reflect its bricks-and-mortar stores.

The retailer had closed its direct-to-consumer website under previous owners, but since the reopening of the site since the change of hands, Brown admitted that Beales was “still two years away from a good online presence”.

Brown took over Beales in a management buyout scheme last October.

Right before the Christmas season, Beales announced it would acquire Palmers’ sole two stores in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft in East Anglia, as well as its leases, assets and name.

This meant Palmers’ run of being a family-owned department store for 180 years came to an end.

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