Beales to open in ex-McEwens Perth store, but vacancy issue remains

Perth in Scotland is welcoming the arrival of independent department store chain Beales. It is taking over a site on St John Street that had previously been a McEwens department store since 1868.


The closure of McEwens left a huge gap in Perth last year


But that company surprised everyone when it went into administration. Its former store has been empty following the filing in spring 2016 with over 100 jobs were lost from the local retail sector.

Beales, which currently has 20 stores, is expected to open in Perth before the end of the year. The company’s CEO, Tony Brown, said: “Beales is the largest independent market town department store group in the United Kingdom, owned by Andrew Perloff and his family interests. Working closely with Perth and Kinross Council we hope to get the store open by November. We recognise Perth to be one of the most innovative cities in Scotland with a great heritage and a forward thinking council.”

While the McEwens closure, which affected three stores, had added to the overall high vacancy rates in Britain, vacancy numbers were made even worse a few months later when giant chain BHS went under. The vacancy problem that failure created has hit parts of Northern England and Scotland harder than the south of the UK.

Beales is just one of a number of independent and mega-sized chains that have been moving into the locations made available by the BHS administration filing, although most ex-BHS stores remain empty.

The company traded from some very large sites and a recent report said at least 60% of these are still vacant as landlords have struggled to find either individual tenants seeking large sites or multiple tenants that could fill the spaces.
Earlier this year the Morleys department store chain opened in the former BHS store in Bexleyheath, Kent. Meanwhile Joules was recently revealed to be one of a number of tenants for the ex-BHS store in Peterborough while Poland’s Reserved has just opened in the BHS Oxford Street, London flagship.

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