In only 8 weeks, the iconic department store was completely reborn this summer thanks to an incredible project turnaround.

Beales: A History

Beales logoBeales Department Stores began trading in 1881 in Bournemouth. From there, it grew to be an independent chain at the heart of nearly 30 towns and cities in the UK. It remained in the Beale family until it was sold on the London Stock Exchange in 1995.

Despite the best efforts of all concerned, January 2020 saw the sad news that all Beales stores were to be closed and that administrators were to be appointed during this difficult time for retail. However, five months later the Beales brand was brought by New Start 2020 Limited who have reincarnated the department store in Poole.

Not only does Beales boast 65,000 square feet of inviting retail space, it now has a growing online presence too. Throughout its transformation, the Beales’ core values of fantastic service, world-class brands and outstanding value remain.

The 8-Week Transformation

We spoke to Paul Masterson from Cupcake Marketing about the ambitious, fast-paced project to reopen the department store, create an online presence and seamlessly link the two.

Why did the reopening come under such a tight schedule?

‘At the beginning of June, a lease was signed for the Poole store. This cemented our deadlines and meant the reopening needed to happen at the start of August. We were then faced with the mission of implementing a new retail management system to cover our EPoS and web requirements in 8 weeks.’

What made you choose Swan?

‘Although we knew no one usually implements systems within that timeframe, Swan Retail were on our radar as we had previously been in conversation about their solutions. Swan also came recommended from AHF, the national furniture retailer supporting our accounting, who use the Swan Retail System (SRS).

‘We needed a system that we knew would work for us from a supplier that could understand our needs and deliver within our timescales. From past experience, I know that other systems would have taken 18 months or 2 years to put in place.’

How have you found working with Swan and our solutions?

‘External factors threw up plenty of challenges with lockdown, furloughed team members and paternity leave to mention a few. This meant that the project had to be passed around somewhat but everyone at Swan stepped up and handled it well.

‘The team were easy to work with and the fact that they delivered the project on time with limited resources is a credit to them. They are really knowledgeable and understand things from the retailer’s perspective.

‘As for the solutions, we had some great feedback from our staff. Cygnus EPoS is fantastic; its user-friendly, does what it says on the tin and just works.

SRS proved to be more of a learning curve as we needed custom functionality, but we worked together to develop a solution and will continue to make slight adjustments to suit our specific needs.

‘The web connector between SRS and our Shopify site was not without its challenges but is now well on its way to being a game-changer for us and other retailers.

‘Finally, the hand-held terminals (Motorola M3 SM15s) are excellent and have formed a new process of booking in concession stock for us. They will give retailers the ability to have an accurate concession stock file in store, essential for google inventory – another game-changer.

‘No less than 500,000 SKUs later, the 8-week mission has become a success story.’

The Future of Beales

What has the project meant for Beales and what are the plans for the future?

‘We now have the ability to scale quickly, cheaply and efficiently. The hard work implementing the systems is done.

‘Our main focus for growth is online. The API connector that Swan developed during lockdown will be a key component to our online success and that of other retailers who implement it.

‘Refining the customer experience online and improving SEO are a priority. Online was previously an afterthought for retailers but is now crucial to their future.’

We look forward to continuing to work closely with Beales to drive innovation within our solutions and help future-proof their business. Take a look at their online store below.

Beales website