Retailer’s vote of confidence in Peterborough as Beales launches again

A veteran retailer has backed Peterborough as he prepares to open a new-look Beales department store in the city.

By Paul Grinnell
Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 6:23 am
The former Beales store in Westgate, Peterborough. EMN-201002-174335009
The former Beales store in Westgate, Peterborough. EMN-201002-174335009

Tony Brown chief executive of Beales, has confirmed the store will open in its former home in Westgate House, in Westgate.

It will create 30 jobs and it is hoped many of the positions will be filled by former Beales staff.

It is expected the store will open during the first week in May.

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Beales occupied two floors during its nine years in Peterborough before the 139-year-old national retailer’s collapse into administration in 2020.

The Beales web address and brand were bought last year by New Start 2020, of which Mr Brown is a director, and which has already opened a store in Poole.

Mr Brown, who was chief executive at the time of the former company’s collapse, said: “The Peterborough store always traded to a high standard and we see a future here for us.

“I am very confident that it will work well.”

Mr Brown said shoppers would notice a difference between the old Beales and the new look store.

He said: “I am a great believer in the high street. I think people still want to go into shops and touch and feel the products.

“I am still confident that department stores have a place but the concept has to be reinvented.

“We need to rethink how these stores look.

“I think small works better. The new store will be on just one floor and will be concession led with 90 per cent of our offering from concessions. This reduces the need for working capital and lending. Before we were 60 per cent concession-based products and 40 per cent own-bought.

He added: “I want the store to become a local hub selling local brands.

“I hope local entrepreneurs with a good local products and brand will get in touch to sell in our store.”

The new look Beales will feature fashion, home furnishings, shoes, gardening equipment, a cafe and much more and will also trade online.

News of the Beales opening emerged last week as the John Lewis department store chain announced it was to close its store in Peterborough’s Queensgate shopping centre putting 318 jobs at risk.

Mr Brown said: “The timing of our announcement was a coincidence.

“I have every confidence in Peterborough.

“The closure of John Lewis will have given the city a knock.

“But Peterborough still has plenty to offer to pull retailers in and I have great faith in the city and Peterborough City Council.”