British department store retailer Beales has become the latest to fall into administration, putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk if a buyer or new investment can’t be found.
The department store is one of the oldest in the UK and has 23 shops selling clothing, beauty products, homewares, electrical goods and gifts. Administrators at KPMG have blamed high rents and rates exacerbated by disappointing trading over the Christmas period.
Emily Salter, retail analyst at GlobalData, believes the department store chain failed to keep up with changing shopping habits.
Beales is “a casualty of the tough retail market where weak consumer confidence and declining footfall have already caused so much disruption to the mid-market department store sector,” she notes.
“This is exacerbated for Beales as it is primarily located on secondary high streets where the drop in footfall is likely to be more profound as other retailers close stores in these locations. “An important factor in Beales going to administration is the slow speed at which it has tried to adapt to the shift to online shopping, as it only launched a transactional website in its FY2017/18 with a limited product range, which was too little, too late.
“Consumers going direct to brands for electricals, and the shift away from the mid-market in clothing and footwear and homewares will also have damaged Beales’ sales, and without a compelling own label proposition this is hard to combat.”