THE boss of Beales has taken over the business in a management buyout.

Chief executive Tony Brown bought 97 per cent of the shares in the store chain, with the backing of a private equity group.

He says the buyout – for an undisclosed sum – will mean more investment in the company.

The move means the exit of investor Andrew Perloff, who bought the company for just £1.2million in early 2015.

It comes shortly after Beales published its annual accounts and said losses after exceptional items had fallen by 56 per cent.

A statement said: “We are pleased to announce that Anthony Brown, CEO of Beale Limited, has completed a management buyout of the company with the purchase of 97 per cent of the share capital from Portnard Limited and English Rose Limited. We want to thank Andrew Perloff and Panther for many years of support and investment.”

Mr Brown told the Daily Echo: “It all comes down to securing funds for future investment in the business and we’ve managed to secure those funds but under a different ownership structure.

“It’s to secure the future of the business with a private equity group that’s investing in the success of the business in a challenging environment.”

In accounts for the year ending March 31 2018, losses excluding exceptional items were 32 per cent lower than the previous year for parent company Beale Limited, at £986,000 and 56 per cent for subsidiary JE Beale PLC, art £857,000.

Including exceptional items, overall losses were up from from £590,000 to £982,000 for JE Beale PLC and from £110,000 to £1.27m for Beale Limited. Turnover for continuing operations was up from £47.1m to £48.7m.

The directors' report said: “The actions taken over the last two years to reduce costs and close loss making stores and the actions being taken to improve productivity and reduced costs will allow us to minimise the impact of any downturn.”

Mr Brown returned to the top job at Beales in May 2017, after running it during its time as a public limited company form 2008-13.