// Beales putting itself on sale as it looks at refinancing options amid tough retail conditions
// It has launched a formal sale process as part of a business review, and a sale is one option under consideration
// The department store is looking for investment to “deliver a sustainable business model for the future”
Beales has confirmed it is putting itself up for sale as it looks at refinancing options amid tough retail conditions taking their toll on the 138-year-old department store chain.
The Bournemouth-based retailer – one of Britain’s oldest department store businesses – said it had launched a formal sale process as part of a strategic and financial review being led by KPMG, though a sale remains one option under consideration.
Beales said it “continues to acclimatise to the ever-changing landscape and challenges of the retail market”.
The retailer is looking for investment to “deliver a sustainable business model for the future” including cost-saving measures and a refocus on homewares, small domestic appliances, fashion accessories and shoes.
Beales, which was founded in 1881 by John Elmes Beale, employs around 1300 staff and another 300 in concessions across its 22 stores.
It was sold in a management buy-out to group chief executive Anthony Brown in October last year.
While it is reportedly looking at a small number of store closures and moves to slash rents, the department store said it also wants to look at buying sites to expand a format that has seen early successes in its new Fareham branch.
Beales launched a strategy overhaul in early 2019 to revamp its ranges, which it said was showing “significant sales improvements”.
However, the retail sector – and department stores in particular – is being hit hard by tough trading conditions.
Debenhams saw its lenders seize control of the company in April following its collapse into administration.
Meanwhile, House of Fraser has been plagued with trouble for the past year or so, well before Mike Ashley took control of the business in summer last year.
with PA Wires