BEALES has refinanced its debt as it announces a loss of almost £6 million in its latest results.

For the year ended November 3, 2012, the Bournemouth-based department store’s preliminary results recorded a pre-tax loss of £5.8 million, down from a £500,000 profit year-on-year.

Like-for-like sales were down 5.6 per cent, but the operating loss was reduced from £3.8 million in 2011 to £2.9 million in 2012.

Sales over the Christmas period were down 1.6 per cent, but the results said Beale PLC still retained in excess of £9.5 million in assets.

As has been reported, Beales has refinanced its debt for the next three years with Burdale Financial Limited.

Group chairman Keith Edelman said there was still much to do to return the company to profitability, but said there was “the leadership, energy and resilience required” to do so.

As reported in the Daily Echo, chief executive Tony Brown has now left the firm, being replaced by finance director Michael Hitchcock. In what was his final set of results, Mr Brown said it was hard to predict consumers’ attitudes over the next year.

He added: “We will therefore focus our attention on what we can control.

“We will continue to monitor our customers’ reaction to any changes and adjust our trading strategy accordingly, but in my view the uncertain economic environment will continue to make our customers cautious throughout the year.

“Our increased focus on commercial direct purchasing has assisted us to date, benefiting our input margins.

“Our balance sheet remains strong. As a management team, we are continuously and rigorously focused on improving our business, not just for today, but also for when the economic upturn comes.”

Bournemouth-based Beales group operates 32 shops.

It can trace its roots back to 1881, when mayor John Elmes Beale opened the first store in the town.