May 4, 2017
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Tony Brown returns to Beales as CEO

May 4, 2017

Bournemouth-based department store chain Beales will once again be led by Tony Brown, who is taking up the CEO role he left four years ago when stepped down to join Peacocks.

According to Bournemouth Echo, Brown is returning to the business and expects it to return to financial health in the next year following a successful CVA in March last year.

Founded in Bournemouth in 1881, Beales had pre-tax losses of £4.6m in 2014 and was acquired by investor Andrew Perloff in 2015 for just £1.2million. The business was forced to close loss-making stores and introduce a cost-cutting business to survive, and launched a CVA last year to negotiate reductions to its rent bills.

At the end of 2016, directors announced that Beales was on “the path to recovery” with an operating profit of £338,000. The performance was boosted by exceptional credits of £2.5 million, which were related to the CVA. Losses for the 17-month period fell from £16.3 million to £2.8 million, said a statement.

“The company is on a much more stable footing following the CVA and we are making plans to return the business to profitability, which I expect to do in the next year,” said Brown to Bournemouth Echo.

“The focus will be on returning to profit and a huge push on understanding our customers. We have a very strong customer base and we need to look at the demographics of where we trade. We need to understand better what we buy and what we sell and who we trade with in our specific towns and cater more specifically to those markets.”

The retail veteran, who has previously worked as retail director of BHS, joined the department store chain in 2008. In five years, he took the company from 11 stores to 32.

Following his departure from Beales, Brown served as interim managing director at Peacock before joining 99p Stores as chief operating officer. In 2015 he moved to Experience Retail and became group brands GMO at Specialty Fashion Group in January 2016 until March this year.

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