About Beales

Beales Department Stores is a story that began in 1881. In that year, John Elmes Beale (1847-1928) opened his Fancy Fair and Oriental House in Old Christchurch Road in Bournemouth, Dorset selling products and novelties that reflected the growing enthusiasm for Chinese and Japanese design. Born near Weymouth along the South Coast, J E Beale became a significant figure in the Bournemouth community – even serving as Mayor for three years between 1902 and 1904.

Beales remained a family business throughout the 20th century. John was succeeded by his son Bennett Beale and then by his grandson Frank. After studying at Oxford and LSE he left England to train at Macy’s in New York.

Upon his return, he bought some of this New York flair back to the UK, creating a department store that was synonymous with style and customer service. There was never a warmer welcome than a Beales welcome.

An unfortunate casualty of World War II, the original store in Bournemouth was bombed suring an air raid. Never ones to be defeated, the Beales family developed a flagship store on the same site. By the late 1960s, the business had extended its reach to a number of towns in the south of England. Frank Beale died in 2001.

Frank was succeeded in the 1980s by Nigel Beale, the great-grandson of the founder. Nigel remains honorary president of the company even today.

In 1995 the business floated on the London stock exchange, but has now returned to private ownership under Andrew Perloff and his family’s business English Rose Enterprises Limited.

Under this new leadership, Beales is returning to its philosophy as a family department store with the warmest welcome.

At Beales we have an incredibly loyal customer base, with over 450,000 of our customers enjoying a range of benefits and rewards with our Love Rewards loyalty scheme.

If you’re looking for the best choice of brands, great value for money and good old-fashioned customer service… it has to be Beales.

1881

1881

The doors opened in Bournemouth and our flagship store still occupies the original site.

1881

1881

The doors opened in Bournemouth and our flagship store still occupies the original site.

1884

1884

Mr & Mrs J E Beale in the garden of their Bournemouth home, with their five sons and two daughters.

1885

1885

Beales is believed to be the 1st retailer to have a real live Father Christmas in the store back in 1885.

1885

1885

Beales is believed to be the 1st retailer to have a real live Father Christmas in the store back in 1885.

1896

1896

Beales staff outing was a regular team event.

1906

1906

Fancy Fair: The first home of Beales built in 1881, rebuilt in 1906.

1912

1912

Cyril Beale, purported to be the first flying Father Christmas pictured at Southbourne.

1917-1918

1917-1918

Beales Catalogue.

1920

1920

Staff outing with Mr & Mrs Herbert Beale in the front seat.

1922

1922

Deliveries were made in style in 1922. Okey’s was acquired by Beales in 1920. It subsequently became Bealesons.

1931

1931

Beales store in Bournemouth, a further floor was added in 1936. This building, on the same site as today’s store, was completely destroyed by enemy action in May 1943.

1943

1943

The Bournemouth store after it was bombed on 23rd May 1943.

1948

1948

After the Bournemouth store was bombed, Beales temporarily moved to Old Christchurch Road.

1948

1948

The restaurant when the store temporarily relocated to Old Christchurch Road.

1952

1952

Rebuilding of the Southern part of the new Beales store begins.

1956

1956

New Beales store in Bournemouth opens. This is the current flagship store.

1956

1956

New Beales store in Bournemouth opens. This is the current flagship store.

1956

1956

New Beales store in Bournemouth opens. This is the current flagship store.

1968

1968

Beales opens second store in neighbouring town Poole.

1968

1968

Beales opens second store in neighbouring town Poole.

1981

1981

Beales celebrated its 100 Years in servicing local people and businesses with an self organised concert.

1981

1981

Beales celebrated its 100 Years in servicing local people and businesses with an self organised concert.