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Busy Beales.

(20 Posts)
Ohmother Sat 25-Jan-20 14:17:26

I went to Beales yesterday. It was very busy. Not like usual when I’ve been in. Of course it’s closing down. All items were reduced.

I can’t help thinking if they had reduced their prices across the board a lot more items would have been affordable and they would have made the sales they needed.

My friend argues that they have to pay the rates so that’s why prices were high. You still can’t pay the rates though if you’re not selling anything.

What do you think?

Ohmother Sun 26-Jan-20 09:15:33


Chestnut Sun 26-Jan-20 09:35:40

We seem to be watching the disappearance of our high streets in slow motion as they all go one by one. The high street shops are at a huge disadvantage paying crippling business rates. They should be reduced, while the online giants should pay tax on items sold in this country. There needs to be a level playing field otherwise this will only continue.

Sara65 Sun 26-Jan-20 09:57:38

I think it’s really sad, but probably a combination of things have brought them to this.

We used to buy everything in Beales, all my clothes when I was younger, all the children’s clothes, they had a really good selection, all nursery equipment, handbags and beauty products, toys, white goods, furniture, always my first port of call, and we all liked the cafe!

I don’t know when exactly it all stared going wrong, they dropped off a lot of the concessions I used to like, definitely cut back on staff. Finding someone to help you at any of the makeup counters was practically impossible.

I don’t think they were particularly overpriced, but inside and outside is very shabby.

I bought a few Christmas cards at Christmas, but before that I would sometimes take my grandson into the toy department, which was actually quite good.the last time we went, we popped up to the cafe for a drink, and we were the only people there. The only things they could offer were bottled water and stale muffins. You used to have to queue to get a table, and they did delicious food.

I find it sad, I’m sure there are many factors which led to their closure, but I’m sure our love affair with online shopping won’t have helped.

eazybee Sun 26-Jan-20 10:31:45

I used to buy clothes, shoes and makeup at Beales, even carpet, but I had to telephone the Company Secretary to find a shop assistant to take my order, no-one on the entire floor who had any knowledge of carpet sales; that was ten years ago.
My last attempted purchase was six months ago when I tried to buy a Lancome product; (no Lancome assistant there, she only worked two days a week) I persuaded the reluctant Clinique assistant to serve me; she couldn't find the product despite it being promoted by the store; when I told her I had made a special journey to buy, she shrugged her shoulders. I reported her to the manager and haven't visited the store since.
Interestingly. when I visited Boots, in another town, the product still wasn't available, but the assistant, Clinique again, suggested I tried one of her products which she assured me was very similar, so I did. Its called salesmanship, and this is what Beales is lacking, plus high rates, limited money to buy stock and poor quality assistants.(Iworked for Selfridges in Oxford Street many years ago, so I have some experience of being behind the counter.)

Sara65 Sun 26-Jan-20 10:48:28


I agree that staffing was probably their biggest problem, last time I bought something on the LG floor, the till didn’t work, so she told me to go upstairs and pay somewhere else, another time their credit card machines were down and I had to go to the bank and get cash.

These things can happen, but it’s how they’re dealt with.

BlueBelle Sun 26-Jan-20 12:24:56

Our beales was busy yesterday but to be honest I didn’t find anything at all to beckon me they seemed to have put a lot of old stock out that was pretty dull
Our High Street is dire now all the big stores gone it started with Woolworths (still miss them) then mothercare, BHS, our Tesco Metro, Bon Marche, a big GPO, Palmers, Beales as well as some more local stores it’s empty apart from pound shops charity shops and coffee shops
Yes it’s a combination of online shopping, out of town retail parks, high street rates and parking fees and they ve gone now we can’t get them back so we have to find a new use for our High Streets
What do you think they should now be used for ?

Jane10 Sun 26-Jan-20 12:29:00

Business rates and staff wages plus higher costs to purchase stock plus people wanting things to be cheap has led to this. Internet business hasn't helped.

varian Sun 26-Jan-20 12:55:59

There are many reasons for the failure of department stores - competition form the internet, high business rates, cost of parking in town centres.

However I also think that they have long since lost the plot, especially in regards to women's clothing, which is a key element of their offer.

When we were children, department stores had departments. If you wanted to buy a green jumper you went to the jumper department and asked to see what they had in green. It was easy to do in your lunch hour.

Now they do not have jumper departments, coat departments, evening dress departments etc. Instsead they have "concessions" - shops within the shop and you have to trail through all of them to look for a green jumper. I have given up doing that long ago. I don't particularly like clothes shopping and life's too short for this nonsense.

I suspect the people who made this change belong to that small fashion obsessed minority who enjoy spending hours rummaging through racks of clothes and no-one ever bothered to check out what the average customer wants.

Chestnut Sun 26-Jan-20 12:59:31

Some high streets are still thriving BlueBelle. Take Hitchin, you can Google for images and information. They are imaginative and thriving, so why not use that for a blueprint for other less successful high streets?

BlueBelle Sun 26-Jan-20 13:18:13

Chestnut most high streets of medium sized towns are empty because the nationals have gone and left very big holes which then lead to more internet shopping or more city shopping and less small town High Street shopping, on top of that the rates and parking have led to less footfall for the smaller independent shops Lose/ lose situation
I will google Hitchen but there’s nothing I can do about it no point in me having a blueprint 😂😂

Chestnut Sun 26-Jan-20 14:29:12

Well I meant for towns which are dying to use successful towns as a blueprint. The general consensus is to make the town centre about more than just shopping. It has to have other attractions as well, so some imagination is required on the part of town planners. They need to take a look at what other towns are doing.

growstuff Sun 26-Jan-20 14:41:15

I think "they" did Chestnut. Mary Portas was brought in as the "high street tsar" but even she didn't have any solutions.

It depends on the disposable income of the people living in an area. A more deprived area is unlikely to have many people who can afford extra services, such as tea shops or shops selling luxury items and gifts. People in those areas will be more attracted to the big discounters, which are mainly situated out of town, or online shopping.

Chestnut Sun 26-Jan-20 14:55:46

But not just shops, other attractions. The high street cannot be just about shopping any more.

Sara65 Sun 26-Jan-20 15:00:45

Our local town , with Beales gone, will be a ghost town, full of charity shops, phone shops, shops which sell rubbish, and mostly empty shops.

But we also have several small town around us which seem to thrive, the difference I think, is that they do have some tourist attractions, and they seem welcoming, with a mix of independents, and the usual Fatface, Joules, Waterstones. They also all have a good market, quality food and clothes, rugs, jewellery, all kinds of things.

If our local M&S is on the hit list, that will be the final nail in the coffin.

BlueBelle Sun 26-Jan-20 15:58:04

Mary Portus cane to sort our town out a few years back when this all started to roll out, unfortunately it is worse since she came I couldn’t even tell you one thing that’s she did
I totally agree town centres need to be more than shops but you need a council with some money and vision to do that and after ten years of austerity there is no money to put any extra activities on
We used to have a European market every few months well guess that’s gone now it’s a dire situation which will get worse before it gets better

Dottydots Sun 26-Jan-20 18:18:27

I'm afraid that for a long time now my local Beales has been displaying far too many clothes stacked on far too many rails and consequently the shop gave the impression of being a jumble sale. Clothes everywhere!

M0nica Sun 26-Jan-20 18:26:53

ohmother reducing prices may increase sales but each item will have a narrower profit margin and it may be more profitable, or less loss making, to sell less with a bigger margin than more on a much thinner margin.

10 sales each with a profit of £10 = £100
20 sales each with a profit of £4 = £80

When profits are falling and the pips begin to squeak, you cut down on maintenance and redecorating and reduce staff.

The closure is at the end of a long period of decline.

Tedber Sun 26-Jan-20 19:46:50

The decline of shopping streets in towns is indeed distressing. Many empty shops looking run down and with little hope of anyone taking them over.

Internet sales do have something to do with it and a lot of big stores I visited actively promoted on-line shopping. I queried this once saying "don't you realise that the more people shop on-line the more you are jeopardising your job?" I was told "Oh no, that will never happen"....but it HAS! Shops closing daily!

I probably held out the longest before shopping on-line but running the gauntlet of people accosting me to ask for money at every turn, people sleeping in empty doorways I succumbed!

Councils DO have to do something with their centres. I don't think we will ever bring back shops as we know them. I just don't know what and I guess...neither do they? Maybe convert empty shops into affordable living? Create more family friendly areas with perhaps stalls instead of the high rent of shops? Introduce different themes throughout the year? All pie in the sky but I think we have to accept the high street has gone forever.

M0nica Sun 26-Jan-20 20:36:16

Commercial rents, sky high business rates and expensive parking have led to the death of the High Street.

Bdetween them property developers and local councils have killed the golden goose.