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Beales acquires 19 new stores

Beales, the department store chain, is to more than double its store numbers with the acquisition of 19 stores from Anglia Regional Co-operative Society, ARCS.

Beales is believed to be about to exchange on the 19 department stores, currently owned by ARCS trading under the name Westgate, which will see its total store numbers reach 32. The proposed acquisition will add a further 450,000 square feet of trading space. The £7.5m deal is being financed by Anglia Regional Co-operative Society, who will remain shareholders in the department store business via preference shares.

The new deal expands Beales reach into in provincial market towns across the UK as far a field as Saffron Walden, Kings Lynn, Mansfield and Harrogate.  Beales stores stock a range of product in non-food categories including womenswear, menswear, homewares, gifts, greeting cards and toys.

Commenting on the acquisition, Beales chief executive Tony Brown said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to reach conditional agreement with ARCS for the acquisition of these 19 stores.  The transaction is in line with our strategy to grow the group, it secures the future of the acquired stores and marks a step change in the development of Beales.”

The Beales group sees an opportunity to increase performance when the takeover completes. The retailer outperforms the Westgate stores in trading performance in sales and profit per square foot.

Gross sales in the six weeks since January 29 – not including the adverse impact of the snowy weather over the Christmas period - were up 9.4% up on the previous year, with like-for-like sales were 4.7% down.

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