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BEALES is expanding into Scotland with the announcement that it has bought a former flagship department store.

The Bournemouth-based department store chain is to reopen McEwens of Perth as a Beales.

McKewens went into administration last year with the loss of 110 jobs.

Tony Brown, who returned as chief executive of Beales earlier this year, said: “Beales is the largest independent market town department store group in the United Kingdom, owned by Andrew Perloff and his family interests.

“We are delighted to welcome our Perth store, formerly McEwens, to the Beales family.

“Working closely with Perth and Kinross Council we hope to get the store open by November. We recognise Perth to be one of the most innovative cities in Scotland with a great heritage and a forward-thinking council.

“We are confident that Beales will be able to meet the needs of our new customers in Perth and surrounding area, continuing Perth’s tradition of offering all that is best from a local, independent department store.”

Beales closed 10 loss-making stores last year and negotiated a company voluntary agreement (CVA) which allowed it to negotiate rent reductions on many of its sites.

Tony Brown returned to the board of Beales in March and became chief executive after the former boss, Stuart Lyons, left for health reasons.

When he originally ran Beales, from 2008-13, he saw it more than double in size with the purchase of 19 department stores from Anglia Regional Co-Operative Society (ARCS).

Property investor Andrew Perloff bought the business for just £1.2million in 2015. He later blamed the company’s debt problems on the acquisition of ARCS, but said it had been the right decision at the time.

Mr Brown recently told the Daily Echo that Beales was reconnecting with its core customers. He is bringing back its shopping website and revamping many of its product ranges.

The chief executive, who previously worked for 99p Stores and led a bid to buy BHS, said: “I’m very excited about Christmas. The ranges the guys have put together are very good.”

Of the Perth move, council leader Ian Campbell said: “This is fantastic news for the city of Perth and the surrounding area. The former McEwens building is a flagship site in the city centre, and it will be great to see it coming back into use, particularly as home to an established independent business.

“The decision by Beales to make Perth the location for their first Scottish store is a ringing endorsement of our city as a place for business investment and growth, and I look forward to seeing them open their doors to new customers later in the year.”

He added: “We welcome Beales, and are delighted they have chosen Perth for their first Scots store.”