Department store chain Beales is to undertake a repositioning after it suffered a 6.4 per cent drop in like-for-like sales.

In an interim statement, the retailer revealed total sales slid 14.5 per cent to£27 million in the 26 weeks to May 3. Pre-tax profits increased fractionally to£881,000, from£875,000.

Finance director Ken Owst said the like-for-like fall was “not acceptable” and that new chief executive Tony Brown would unveil a strategy to redefine Beales’ product offer.

Owst said: “Everything is being reviewed. By the autumn we will have a strategy in place.”

He added that Brown, who joined the retailer in June from Bhs, where he was retail director, would “like to see a move to own-product”.

Ranges will be refined, bought in greater depth and options reduced. Product will benefit from sourcing in China, resulting in the axing of “one or two” suppliers.

Owst also said there was “a lot of opportunity” for Beales’ homewares business, which represents 55 per cent of sales.