The reopening of the Beales department store on Lord Street “offers real hope” to Southport’s future.
Sefton Council officers have been in talks with bosses from the retailer over the exciting scheme over the past few months.
Beales closed its doors in March last year as the Covid-19 pandemic sent England into its first lockdown.
The building has been home to a department store for 139 years, hosting businesses including Broadbents and Boothroyds, with generations of local residents and visitors enjoying shopping trips there.
Sefton Council Head of Economic Growth and Housing Stuart Barnes said: “This is fantastic news for Southport.
“Having spoken to representatives of Beales for some time, Sefton Council is very pleased and extremely encouraged to see their commitment to Southport confirmed and plans become a reality.
“The retail sector nationally has taken a real hammering recently, and Southport has been hit particularly hard.
“The closure of three department stores in quick succession was a real hammer blow, so this announcement offers real hope.
“I’m sure our residents and visitors to the area will be excited to see this new venture open and support this business.
“The Beales store is in such a key location within the town, right opposite the Town Hall Square, and where footfall is at its highest.
“The store’s reopening will create a real buzz of activity and I hope it will positively affect the perceptions of the town and build confidence in other businesses.
“This builds upon the Council’s recent success in securing £37.5m Town Deal funding from Government, the ongoing progress of the Townscape Heritage Project and many new private sector investments in Southport as the economy reopens and recovers from the pandemic. “Indeed, the finishing touches are being applied to Southport Market in advance of its imminent reopening as a new Food, Drink and Events space for the town, and work continues on many plans for further exciting developments, which will hopefully progress over the coming weeks and months.”
It is understood that Beales has been in the process of contacting former members of staff about returning to the new store when it opens.
And signs have now appeared in the window, saying: “Beales Department Store – Your New Store Is Coming Soon.”
Last year a new company, New Start 2020, bought the Beales IP address and brand, and hired Tony Brown, chief executive of the old business.
Mr Brown previously said: “We are actively looking at the success of our Poole store, which opened in August 2020, to mimic that in other towns.
“A small chain of four or five department stores is much more sustainable than 200.
“We believe there will be more opportunities for further UK store openings over the next year.”
Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org