Beales department stores were once again in the limelight as it was revealed yesterday that privately owned Thompson Holdings had upped its stake in the group to nearly 24 per cent. Beale Plc confirmed to AFX News that Lawdene Ltd, a subsidiary of Torquay based fashion chain Hoopers Ltd, had bought a further 1,064,352 shares in the department store group, bringing its total share holding to 4,884,896 or 23.85 per cent.