Beatties to close store

Beatties is closing one of its Black Country department stores, it was announced today

WD3455951@BEATTIES 5 AE 09Beatties is closing one of its Black Country department stores, it was announced today

The bombshell news was given today to staff at the Dudley shop, which has just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Bosses say the branch in the Churchill Shopping Centre will continue to trade as normal for now but closure is planned by the end of January.

There are 76 staff at the shop in total, 48 are not paid directly by Beatties but by the concessions they work for.

The company said today it would be looking to redeploy people where possible and it was now entering into a period of consultation.

Nick Orford, West Midlands general manager for Beatties owner House of Fraser said today: “The financial forecasts show it is not financially viable to continue trading.

“We have advised all the staff this morning. It is our intention to redeploy staff where possible.

“It is very sad and it is not a decision we have taken lightly. We have tried a number of different retail formats which didn’t work such as trading as a clearing store.”

He said Beatties had also closed the lower ground floor in the summer.

He added no further store closures were planned and the Wolverhampton branch was not affected.

The Dudley store became the fourth branch of Beatties to open in England on September 4, 1969.

The new £750,000 store drew hundreds of people to its official opening.

Beatties was founded in Wolverhampton in 1877 in a small shop in Victoria Street. The founder, James Beattie, began the business with two assistants and by 1895 had a staff of 40 and an annual turnover of £30,000.

House of Fraser reported a solid performance for the first half of the year last month, with underlying profits up 16 per cent.

Comments for: "Beatties to close store"

milli

Quite shocked to read this news....my family & I use the restaurant regularly and its always very busy with good food and reasonable prices....one of the only reasons I still go to Dudley.

Jake

Beatties has gone backwards since the takeover - the Wolverhampton store is a shadow of its former self. It should have stayed independent.

Woody

Lots of good memories when I was a student in Dudley, especially the restaurant. That was in time when M&S, Littlewoods, Woolworths and BHS were main department stores in the town.

The town has no department stores and is yet another indication of the town's demise...

Beaker

Well its not surprising seen as all the big names are in the Merry Hill centre, but is a massive shame. Perhaps if Beatties had advertised the fact that they were a clearance store then tradey would have been better, everyone like a bargain especially in this climate.

Bigbob

This is the final nail in Dudley's coffin. The only real store of worth in the town will be gone. All that will be left is bargain basement stores and charity shops.

BRUCE

Dudley is DYING.Faster and faster.What can be done?

Philgrog

Another article in the star is "celebrating 20 years of Merry Hill" sums up the problem. Another nail in Dudley's coffin. All carparks in our towns should be free like Merry Hill. Give Dud a chance!

Abi

Another nail in Dudley's coffin. I have fond memories of Beatties especially the restaurant which we still use now on our rare trips to Dudley. It is such a shame to see what this town is becoming.

truth

I thought exactly the same as you Woody, breakfast in Beatties and then off to the Saracens head while skiving lessons! BRILLIANT!

Lisa

I worked at the store for 22 years when it was beatties, we had lots of great times and it was a special place to work and shop. Customer service was excellent and the members as we were known enjoyed providing it. Beatties has not been the same since "HOF" took them over,some call it progress ,I beg to differ !

Raj Choudhury

Thank god! Went there a couple of weeks ago and boy was it a shock. Full of rubbish very dated and staff are dull.

Boster

I am stunned, even though the store has clearly been in decline ever since the takeover. There was a bizarre sale a few years ago, when they sold all the good stuff off at knock down prices to make way for the House of Fraser's cheap and nasty own-brand clothing.

I don't know where I will shop now, but it certainly won't be at the horrible Merry Hill centre, and I think I will probably boycott the remaining Beatties stores.

Bruce asks what can be done, but I'm afraid the council's decision to declare the Merry Hill centre as Dudley borough's "strategic town centre" (which means it is the only place in the borough that large scale retail development will be allowed) then there is no hope. The council's talk of regeneration is hot air, given that it changed the rules to stop any retail regeneration in the town. Any regeneration plans that do no involve large scale retail expansion in the town centre are completely worthless.

I suppose we will wait and see what happens to the Beatties unit. If another department store, even a discount retailer such as TJ Hughes or TK Maxx moved in, there might be some hope. What I really hope does not happen is that it will be turned into offices, a college building or some other none retail use. It would be better to keep it empty than allow it to fall into non-retail use, which then rules any retailer taking it on in future. Perhaps the basement could be turned into a free car park, surely a must for any major store.

If it does not get taken on by a major retailer, it is effectively the end of Dudley. It is a disgrace; Dudley is Britain's second biggest town, with a population bigger than Newcastle-upon-Tyne. People blame the recession, but Wolverhampton and Walsall, both which have smaller and more socially deprived populations manage to support a decent town, so why can't Dudley.

The council and all the other Merry Hill apologists should hang their heads in shame.

I also hope shoppers will examine their consciences before shopping at Merry Hill.

BRUCE

But Millets are even deserting MERRY HILL !!

As I said the sheep all seem to stay in KIDDERMINSTER ! (cf also B&Q after Stourbridge).

Karen

Having visited Beatties for the first time in many years, and since it was taken over, I can only say their Wolverhampton store is a mess. Gone has the character, the nice assistants, the willingness to help. Goodbye Beatties, you were an Icon around the Black Country and showed other stores what 'customer serivce' really was. I won't be going into Beatties again on my visit to England.

paul m.

Just blame the Council .. Their answer to Merry Hill was to charge for parking on the car parks !!!! Unbeleivable

stevebaggie

Boster i agree with everything you said Cheers!

Friends of dudley town centre

stevebaggie

Everytime a store closes in dudley i hope that the council will finally wake up and do something

but saddley this never happens

i urge people to boycott the merry hill centre that might wake this doppy council up

Ang

completely agree with karens comment above... i have recently left beatties w-ton after working there for years, it was lovely working for beatties, we were looked after as were the customers, i believe that the staff are unhappy now and that is reflecting on the customer service, 'HOF' is a profit hungry company and they are very unpleasent to work for, good luck to those there now and farewell beatties you will be missed!

jon

Stevie baggie. Boycotting the Merryhill centre won't wake our idiot councillors up. Moving away from Dudley might. Towns can't compete anymore with Malls. Our towns like Dudley havn't even been given any chances by our local greedy councillors. They can just watch now and hang their heads in shame as the rest of town life dies right under their noses and places like Merryhill thrives for all the right reasons. Dudley and like will become a junk shop town as it already started to become many years ago.

BOSTER

Jon,

Merry Hill thrives for all the wrong reasons, ie because traders were given huge, taxpayer-funded subsidies to move there, and special excemptions from planning laws which everybody else is subjected to.

You say that towns centres can't compete with malls, but all other large towns manage to suport one.

As it stands, the Merry Hill centre has probably got another 20 to 30 years left in it. Not much can be done in the short term, but the council should adhere by the spirit of government policy, which has been in place since the mid 1990s, and insist that any future large scale retail development in Dudley borough must be in the town centre, or in Halesowen and Stourbridge.

Retailers would then have a choice – they can either provide a valuable contribution to our communities, which have evolved over several hundred years, or they can lose the business of the 305,000 people who live in the borough.

We can't realistically get rid of Merry Hill in the immediate future, but the council should not be prolonging the existence of something which government guidelines have long said is undesirable.

Merry Hill should be left to naturally wind down over the next 20 or 30 years, and Dudley Council should be planning for a post-Merry Hill future.

Boycotting Merry Hill probably won't make our councillors see sense. But I certainly don't wish to subsidise something I regard as a social ill.

Boster

Jon,

Merry Hill thrives for all the wrong reasons, ie because traders were given huge, taxpayer-funded subsidies to move there, and special excemptions from planning laws which everybody else is subjected to.

You say that towns centres can't compete with malls, but all other large towns manage to suport one.

As it stands, the Merry Hill centre has probably got another 20 to 30 years left in it. Not much can be done in the short term, but the council should adhere by the spirit of government policy, which has been in place since the mid 1990s, and insist that any future large scale retail development in Dudley borough must be in the town centre, or in Halesowen and Stourbridge.

Retailers would then have a choice – they can either provide a valuable contribution to our communities, which have evolved over several hundred years, or they can lose the business of the 305,000 people who live in the borough.

We can't realistically get rid of Merry Hill in the immediate future, but the council should not be prolonging the existence of something which government guidelines have long said is undesirable.

Merry Hill should be left to naturally wind down over the next 20 or 30 years, and Dudley Council should be planning for a post-Merry Hill future.

Boycotting Merry Hill probably won't make our councillors see sense. But it would mean we are not subsidising something many of us regard as a social ill.

Boster

Jon, Merry Hill thrives for all the wrong reasons, ie because traders were given huge, taxpayer-funded subsidies to move there, and special excemptions from planning laws which everybody else is subjected to.

You say that towns centres can't compete with malls, but all other large towns manage to suport one.

As it stands, the Merry Hill centre has probably got another 20 to 30 years left in it. Not much can be done in the short term, but the council should adhere by the spirit of government policy, which has been in place since the mid 1990s, and insist that any future large scale retail development in Dudley borough must be in the town centre, or in Halesowen and Stourbridge.

Retailers would then have a choice – they can either provide a valuable contribution to our communities, which have evolved over several hundred years, or they can lose the business of the 305,000 people who live in the borough.

We can't realistically get rid of Merry Hill in the immediate future, but the council should not be prolonging the existence of something which government guidelines have long said is undesirable.

Merry Hill should be left to naturally wind down over the next 20 or 30 years, and Dudley Council should be planning for a post-Merry Hill future.

Boycotting Merry Hill probably won't make our councillors see sense. But it would mean we are not subsidising something many of us regard as a social ill.

jon

Boster- Merryhill is a fantastic achievement and will never wind down in favour of towns. Other Towns have survived but have still suffered i agree. Merryhill just happens to be nearest to those towns that have suffered. Wolverhampton for all it's problems has invested over the years in the city centre developments. Theres been no council investments in Dudley or the surrounding area at all! Halesowen and Cradley only survive because of large supermarkets such as Tescos and asda being there.

Malls are the way forward in areas like ours, even London has its new mall developments and Milton keynes. the high street has killed off it's self . How many shops opened up 7 days a week and untill 10 at night. Dudleuy only did itat Christmas or when it could be bothered to serve its customers. The Merryhill is a professionaly run shopping Centre that caters for all our needs and we can shop in comfort and in a warm environment where we don't have to dash into a store just to shelter from bad weather. Theres also a fantastic choice of products. Sorry but Town life is a thing of the past and i am sorry t see it go but you can blame your local council for most of it and not Merryhill who's vision was always to look after the peoples shopping needs-and free parking!!

jon

Boster-they were never excempt from planning laws but they did all get a massive rates reduction set up for a certain amount of years. The pesamists said that when shops should have to pay the full amount in rates the Merryhill would die-Has it? Dont be silly it's gone from strength to strength with all the big names opting to close stores if they have to in towns and move out to the Merryhill site.

if you are making statements that all Towns have managed to support a mall then why Is Dudley suffering then? They can't support Malls it's that simple. They can't even get trade anymore because of what people now want. You won't get people to start shopping back in towns when you have the merryhill and I'd bet large sums of money on that boster!

lisa

thank god for that!! dudley is a dying town, and the store was constantly empty with staff standing around doing very little... dont blame them for one second for closing that store!!!