Beales boss hails ‘significant’ progress
The ceo of department and home store chain Beales has extoled the virtues of the high street and its progress transforming itself as like for like sales rise.
The chain saw like for like sales rise by 1.7% in the 19 weeks to 13 September as second half performance improved but were down by 1.1% in the 45 week period. Total sales dropped by 0.6% in the 19 week period and by 3.5% in the 45 week period as four branches were closed: Maidstone, Cinderford, Keighley and Harrogate.
'The business has made significant strides in taking the Beales brand back to its core values of a local high street department store, offering value for money branded and own brand product for the person and the home and ensuring the best customer experience every time,' says Michael Hitchcock. This is reflected in the ongoing sign up of loyalty card members, which now stands at in excess of 350,000 members, the sales penetration of the loyalty card and the increasing number of customer complements received every day.
'I truly believe that the high street in the UK can survive and thrive with a local trusted and quality driven offer, which emanates theatre and personality. The early signs of the blood, sweat and tears that the people in our business have given up are starting to positively show through.
'The cessation of "mega" promotions, which in the prior year heightened sales at little or no margin, the exit from the TV/Audio sector and the slow start to the current financial year on the back of lower disposable incomes, pulled sales lower. That said, an improving macro-economic environment and a more positive consumer, aligned with a more consistent seasonal weather pattern in the second half of the year has improved trading markedly.'