Michael's got lots in store for Beales

Bournemouth Echo: Michael's got lots in store for Beales Michael's got lots in store for Beales

NEW Beales boss Michael Hitchcock insists on being on first name terms with every member of his staff.

Less than a fortnight after taking over from outgoing chief executive Tony Brown, he said: “I'm Michael; not Mr Hitchcock or the CEO. I am just the figurehead; I'm not on an ego trip, but I do want to make a difference.

“It's a really exciting challenge, but very much a team effort. I believe we have a good team who can take the business forward. We can't guarantee success but I'm very positive about Beales' future.”

His appointment comes after Beales closed its Wallisdown warehouse, refinanced its debt for the next three years and recorded a pre-tax loss of £5.8million for the year ended November 3, 2012. Christmas sales were down 1.6 per cent but Beale PLC still retains in excess of £9.5m in assets.

The 48-year-old accountant, who has spent most of his working life in the retail trade, said: “I prefer to look forward and concentrate on the opportunities that Beales presents. I'm an absolute optimist. Securing repeat business and good customer service is the core of everything.”

The father-of-three, who was appointed Beales interim finance director in May last year, has “four women in my life”; his wife Fiona, a children's speech and language therapist, and three daughters.

Reflecting on turbulent times on the High Street, he said: “Online sales are not going to go away but they will plateau. You can either lie back and take it or take advantage of the situation. We have ideas and there are things we will do differently.”

With 33 locations and a workforce of around 2,500, the Bournemouth-based department store chain has recently shed jobs and there are no guarantees that more staff won't go. The CEO said: “The business is set up for success but there are a lot of economic factors that we can't control.

“We do not have the time or energy to carry people; there are three million unemployed people who would love to get a ticket to board the Beales bus. I can't say how long I will be here but Beales future in Bournemouth is secure. We want to bring the theatre back to retail; department stores provide the perfect stage.”

Trading director Tony Richards is a vital part of Michael's team.

He said: “We want to do what we do very well, in the most profitable way. We have streamlined the business; there are positive signs and I can see green shoots. Our first focus is on our stores and getting them right; only a tiny proportion of our business is online.

“Improvements are being carried out and changing rooms are receiving a makeover. We want our customers to notice a difference.”

Comments (9)

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10:58am Fri 22 Feb 13

elite50 says...

An accountant boss on a "first name" basis?
I can see it now.
"Fred, your fired!".
An accountant boss on a "first name" basis? I can see it now. "Fred, your fired!". elite50

11:24am Fri 22 Feb 13

Old Harry says...

The staff know his first name but does he know theirs? Unlikely! They will just be numbers in his spread sheets.
The staff know his first name but does he know theirs? Unlikely! They will just be numbers in his spread sheets. Old Harry

11:58am Fri 22 Feb 13

bmthmark says...

"The father-of-three, who was appointed Beales interim finance director in May last year, has “four women in my life”; his wife Fiona, a children's speech and language therapist, and ... "

So he has a wife and is also seeing a children's speech and language therapist lol he shouldn't advertise this :)
"The father-of-three, who was appointed Beales interim finance director in May last year, has “four women in my life”; his wife Fiona, a children's speech and language therapist, and ... " So he has a wife and is also seeing a children's speech and language therapist lol he shouldn't advertise this :) bmthmark

1:09pm Fri 22 Feb 13

BmthNewshound says...

He was interim finance director now he's interim CEO....... doesn't sound like someone committing to a long stay.
.
He was interim finance director now he's interim CEO....... doesn't sound like someone committing to a long stay. . BmthNewshound

1:12pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Dean Park says...

Another two-year merchant who will no doubt upset most of his staff, slash costs and benefits and then move on to yet another highly paid position before the whole lot comes tumbling down around him. Then the cycle will begin again.
Another two-year merchant who will no doubt upset most of his staff, slash costs and benefits and then move on to yet another highly paid position before the whole lot comes tumbling down around him. Then the cycle will begin again. Dean Park

2:34pm Fri 22 Feb 13

muscliffman says...

I am no accountant, but a Company with one more annual loss on a similar scale to their last £6million loss, all be it with assets of circa £10million, would be heading into a pretty awkward 'solvency' situation, surely?
I am no accountant, but a Company with one more annual loss on a similar scale to their last £6million loss, all be it with assets of circa £10million, would be heading into a pretty awkward 'solvency' situation, surely? muscliffman

3:04pm Fri 22 Feb 13

bmthmark says...

muscliffman wrote:
I am no accountant, but a Company with one more annual loss on a similar scale to their last £6million loss, all be it with assets of circa £10million, would be heading into a pretty awkward 'solvency' situation, surely?
That's what I have been thinking. How can the company survive this?
[quote][p][bold]muscliffman[/bold] wrote: I am no accountant, but a Company with one more annual loss on a similar scale to their last £6million loss, all be it with assets of circa £10million, would be heading into a pretty awkward 'solvency' situation, surely?[/p][/quote]That's what I have been thinking. How can the company survive this? bmthmark

3:06pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Leviathan77 says...

This article seemed like a "touchy/feely" get to know me sort of article until the sentence “We do not have the time or energy to carry people; there are three million unemployed people who would love to get a ticket to board the Beales bus"

I have a friend who works for Beales, and it seems that this statement has a much deeper meaning. I'm told the staff there at head office are worked ridiculous hours for wages that are barely over minimum wage, given no support by management and critised at every turn. Towards the end of last year, my friend told me that there was a department where they had so many people leave (through choice not redundancy), that the head of HR had to investigate and report back to the directors. They've had new employees who have worked in the region of weeks before deciding to leave. I hope for their sakes it gets better and for the record, I've heard good things about the new CEO. Apparently he's been a much needed breath of fresh air, which is apparently far better than the opinions I've heard about the other directors.

But as for the statement regarding not having the time or energy to carry people, it seems from what I've heard that they can't hold onto anyone long enough to carry them. I used to love shopping in Beales with my wife, but some of the things I hear from the inside puts me off shopping there anymore, and that's before you get into the poundland rival discount shops they've seem to have become.
This article seemed like a "touchy/feely" get to know me sort of article until the sentence “We do not have the time or energy to carry people; there are three million unemployed people who would love to get a ticket to board the Beales bus" I have a friend who works for Beales, and it seems that this statement has a much deeper meaning. I'm told the staff there at head office are worked ridiculous hours for wages that are barely over minimum wage, given no support by management and critised at every turn. Towards the end of last year, my friend told me that there was a department where they had so many people leave (through choice not redundancy), that the head of HR had to investigate and report back to the directors. They've had new employees who have worked in the region of weeks before deciding to leave. I hope for their sakes it gets better and for the record, I've heard good things about the new CEO. Apparently he's been a much needed breath of fresh air, which is apparently far better than the opinions I've heard about the other directors. But as for the statement regarding not having the time or energy to carry people, it seems from what I've heard that they can't hold onto anyone long enough to carry them. I used to love shopping in Beales with my wife, but some of the things I hear from the inside puts me off shopping there anymore, and that's before you get into the poundland rival discount shops they've seem to have become. Leviathan77

10:19am Sat 23 Feb 13

demonmonster says...

A good friend of mine is always keeping me updated on Beales affairs.
From what I understand, Michael comes over as you best friend then staps you in the back.
Yes he is a businessman and has a job to do, but the lies and false smile are not required.
I am sure there will be more people out in the near future, along with a few store closures.
Of course he is only in for the short term, his salary will be huge.
Crazy when you see what the staff earn.
A good friend of mine is always keeping me updated on Beales affairs. From what I understand, Michael comes over as you best friend then staps you in the back. Yes he is a businessman and has a job to do, but the lies and false smile are not required. I am sure there will be more people out in the near future, along with a few store closures. Of course he is only in for the short term, his salary will be huge. Crazy when you see what the staff earn. demonmonster

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