TRADING at the revived Beales has been highly dependent on the news about Covid – but its online business is getting “bigger every week”.

The famous retailing name returned to Poole’s Dolphin Shopping Centre in the summer, months after the original department store chain went into administration.

The company name was bought for £5,000 by a new business, New Start 2020.

Boss Tony Brown, who was hired to reopen the Poole store, said: “It started very, very strongly.

“The first five to six weeks were exceptional, than it tailed of just as the school holidays finished, to a more normal level.”

Beales in the Dolphin Shopping Centre reopens

He said trade in recent weeks had been “a lot more unpredictable” and had been linked national news about the coronavirus.

“When something new comes out, like the rule of six or different areas of the country doing different things, as soon as there’s more news about restrictions, it seems to tail off a little but then comes back. It’s highly unpredictable at the moment,” he added.

Beales goes into administration, putting future of stores and jobs in doubt

Demand for houseware, bedding and electricals was “very strong”, he said. In fashion, Apricot and Just Elegance were among the most sought-after brands, while perfume was “doing well”.

“So far we’re happy with what’s happening, especially online,” he said.

The original Beales scrapped its retailing website before Mr Brown returned to manage and then buy out the business.

The new company’s website has been attracting customers from areas that never had Beales stores, he said. Customers were discovering it through Google Shopping and seizing a bargain,” he added.

“You find even if it’s only 50p cheaper than somebody else, they will go with it,” he said.

“Last week was our strongest, even selling 100 bread makers, delivering mostly to Tier 3 areas.”

Mr Brown said Poole town centre seemed to be busier than Bournemouth. Customers were mainly coming out with a firm idea of what they wanted to buy, so visits were more likely to “convert” into sales.

“Our conversation rate is more than double what the old Beales used to be,” he added.

The store has applied for an alcohol licence so it can sell local gins.

A branch of Naked Coffee is due to open in the shop in November.

Photos: The Beales story in the store's own pictures

The history of Beales began in 1882, when John Elmes Beale set up his Fancy Fair and Oriental House in Bournemouth.

The Poole shop was among the first tenants of what was then called the Arndale Centre in 1969.

However, the Beales chain went into administration in January, under the pressure of debts, high business rates and disappointing Christmas trading.

Beales administrators preparing to close all its stores

More than 1,000 jobs and 22 stores were axed, with closing-down sales at many shops brought to a premature end in March by the coronavirus lockdown.

Beales’ famous name was sold for just £5,000 after 139 years of trading

The Beales name and intellectual property were sold in June to New Start 2020. Its directors include Andrew Perloff, the property investor who once owned Beales, and Tony Brown, the chief executive who acquired the business in a management buyout in 2018.