Department store faces tough competition
Department store Beales' pre-close statement revealed sliding sales, amid tough competition.

The retailer said it expects Christmas to be tough and added that any increased promotional activity is likely to have an adverse affect on margins.

Gross sales for the 52 weeks to October 29 were down 1.5 per cent compared with the same period last year. Like-for-like sales for the last 20 weeks of the financial year decreased by 0.6 per cent.

However, womenswear is giving cause for optimism. In a statement, Beales said: 'Despite the challenging retail environment, the board is pleased that womenswear has returned year-on-year sales growth. Whilst classic fashion struggled in some areas, sales of our own label were encouraging.'

Separately, former Jenners buying and marketing director Barbara King joined Beales on October 31 as buying and merchandise director.