Editor’s Note: Beales, a 139-year-old British department store chain, has fallen into administration (the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11). Emily Salter offers her view on the retailer’s challenges:
Beales has fallen into administration, a casualty of the tough retail market. Weak consumer confidence and declining footfall have already caused so much disruption to the midmarket department-store sector.
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. It only launched a transactional website in its FY2017/18 with a limited product range—too little, too late.
Consumers going direct to brands for electricals, and the shift away from the midmarket in clothing/footwear and homewares also have damaged Beales’ sales. Without a compelling own-label proposition, this is hard to combat.
Emily Salter is retail analyst at GlobalData.