SHOPPERS were welcomed into Beales in the Dolphin Shopping Centre yesterday for the first time since its refurbishment.

The department store entered administration in January this year and all 23 shops shut.

Bournemouth Echo:

Operating under the Beales name, the Dolphin Centre store is now run by new owners New Start 2020, who have employed former chief executive Tony Brown to run the operation in the same role.

And shoppers were glad to be back as it reopened yesterday.Bournemouth Echo:

Pamela West, 83, said: “On entering the store I felt it was such a great improvement, it was more open, there was more light, it was better laid out, better quality items, it’s very 21st century.

“I thought they had lost the store completely, and I must admit I was so bitterly disappointed.

Bournemouth Echo:

“A friend of mine said it was opening and I refused to believe it, until I had a little bit of confirmation from various sources, I began to believe them.

“We desperately needed a store because not everyone can do it online.”

Bournemouth Echo:

The ground floor beauty hall has been replaced with the three Fs - fashion, fragrance and fashion accessories while the first floor has a huge footwear section, menswear, luggage, housewares, children’s clothing, gifts, books and cards.

Work is also under way to create a restaurant on the first floor, which will open in September.

Bournemouth Echo:

Bedding, curtains and towels have big sections on the second floor, alongside a temporary ‘hidden treasures’ section offering one-off items at bargain prices. This will be replaced in the coming months by a furniture section.

Sheila Sherlock, aged in her 80s, said: “It’s fantastic, I come here two to three times a week and I was worried it would go completely.

Bournemouth Echo:

“They’ve done it really well. I’m thrilled, thrilled to bits.”

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Sears, 74, said: “It’s really good, it’s the only reason I come to Poole.

“It’s lovely and laid out really well.

Bournemouth Echo:

“Poole needed it. The timing’s obviously not great but hopefully more people will start to come.

“I really like it.”