PLANS are afoot to revive Beales just months after the department store chain seemed to have disappeared for good, the Daily Echo can reveal.

The aim is to reopen the former store in Poole's Dolphin Shopping Centre under the Beales name.

The plans are being laid despite the devastating effect of the coronavirus crisis on the retail industry, with major players such as John Lewis thought to be unlikely to reopen all their stores.

Poole's Beales could be open again as early as July, depending on when the government lifts its closure of non-essential shops, the Echo understands.

BCP council leader Vikki Slade welcomed the prospect of the stores returning.

"If true, that's great news," she said.

Bournemouth Echo:

"I know that when things were on a downward slope, the Poole branch was always one of the most profitable and I was always fairly confident that we would be able to restore something similar.

"If you could extract each bit of the jigsaw, I was hopeful we might get there.

"I also know a number of organisations and individuals who are interested in the Bournemouth site, so I think it's unlikely that's going to sit as an ugly reminder for very long."

Panther Securities – which owned many of the Beales store sites – is understood to have taken over the lease of the Dolphin Centre store.

Panther's chairman, Andrew Perloff, owned the business from 2015 until chief executive Tony Brown took over in a management buyout three years later.

Bournemouth Echo:

Beales went into administration in January this year after disappointing Christmas trading compounded other problems, such as high rates and competition from online trading.

There were hopes of saving at least some of its 23 stores, but they all shut after administrators failed to find a buyer, with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.

With the coronavirus crisis wiping out footfall in high streets, the closing down sales were brought to a premature end on March 19, days before the government ordered non-essential shops to close.

Beales was founded in Bournemouth in 1861 by John Elmes Beale and became an institution.

The business opened a Poole shop in the early days of the Dolphin Centre, which opened as the Arndale in 1969.

The closure of its three-storey store left a major gap in the shopping centre.