Department store take over deal is dropped between Beales and Palmers

Palmers department store in Market Place, Great Yarmouth.

Palmers department store in Market Place, Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant

An East Anglian department store chain says business will continue “as usual” after a competitor dropped its bid to take over its shops.

Palmers was approached by department store operator Beales in May about a possible acquisition of its Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft stores.

The company, which has 21 department stores including in Beccles, Lowestoft and Diss, had promised that the Palmers name would live on should the deal to take over Palmers’ two remaining stores go through.

But on Monday Beales and parent company Portnard confirmed that the current uncertain state of the retail industry had led it to abandon its takeover plan.

In a statement a Beales spokesman said: “Due to the current challenging retail environment, Beales will not be pursuing the acquisition of Palmers Department Stores in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

“The focus will instead be on growing current sales and our online business.”

Bruce Sturrock, chairman of Palmers Department Stores, would not speculate on the “whys and wherefores” of Bournemouth-based Beales’ decision, but said it would be “business as usual” at the stores.

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“The thing I am really keen to get across is that the company is not in any trouble at all, in fact far from it. We are in a fortunate position compared to some other retail companies,” he said.

“We will continue on as we did before Beales approached us. I hope our staff understand the situation.

“It is not a disaster for us as it might have been in other circumstances and there is no threat of Palmers losing its presence in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.”