Mar 25, 2021
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Beales on comeback trail with plans for new store

Mar 25, 2021

The retail news may be dominated by department stores closing down completely or at least closing branches, but there may be some hope on the horizon as other companies step in to fill the void.

Is the Beales banner making a return to Peterborough? - Photo: Public domain

We’ve heard that Beales, which went into administration just before the pandemic due to the crushing weight of business rates, could be about to expand after making an initial come back last summer.

In a much-needed boost to UK’s beleaguered department store sector, the Beales banner could be set to be resurrected in Peterborough.

New owner New Start 2020, which bought the Beales IP address and brand out of administration early last year, plans to open the store in May, according to local reports. This follows the opening of a Beales store in Poole, Dorset, last August.

The Beales chain collapsed into administration 15 months ago and administrator KPMG closed all 21 stores and liquidated the stock after receiving no offers to buy it. The company had cited a massive business rates bill as a major contributor to its demise.
However, New Start 2020 stepped in and hired Tony Brown, chief executive of the former business, to head the brand’s redevelopment.

We haven't yet had confirmation of a Peterborough opening but a search for ‘Peterborough department stores’ does bring up Beales as a result with a page saying “opening 1 May”.

The news of Beales opening in Peterborough couldn't have come at a better time given that John Lewis has said it won’t reopen its own store in the city once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Peterborough was one of eight stores John Lewis intends to close in its latest round of physical retail cutbacks.

There are major fears in many UK towns and cities that closures such as those by the House of Fraser chain, by John Lewis, and the complete shutdown of the Debenhams physical stores business, will leave massive empty spaces that will be hard to fill. 

Assuming the Beales opening does go ahead, it clearly sees an opportunity in a market deprived of major name department stores and an incentive to ensure consumers want to return to compelling city/town centre venues.

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