Anglia Co-operative Society to sell Westgate Department Stores to Beale PLC

Date: 6 April 2011

Beale PLC announced to the London Stock Exchange this morning that they have reached agreement with the Anglia-Co-operative Society to buy their Westgate Department Store business.

The deal involves the sale of 19 stores, although Anglia Co-operative will retain ownership of the properties and lease them back to Beale's. Four stores, those located in Hartlepool, Blyth, Scunthorpe and March are not included in the sale and will remain with Anglia Co-operative.

Once the sale is finalised, all staff in the 19 affected stores, except those who work in the AHF Furniture, Travel, Optical and Hairdressing concessions, are expected to transfer to Beale's with their existing terms and conditions protected under the TUPE regulations.

Usdaw understands the sale may also impact on some roles at the Society's Head Office in Peterborough, although as yet there are no firm details. The sale is subject to clearance from the UK Listing Authority and will take several weeks to complete.

Sharon Ainsworth, Usdaw National Officer said:

"The announcement has obviously come as a shock to members and it will no doubt cause some degree of uncertainty and worry. However, Usdaw believes the deal could be in the best interests of staff and may help secure the long term future of the business. Beale's is a dedicated Department Store company with over 100 years of history and experience behind them and they have clearly been looking for further opportunities for growth."

"It is extremely regrettable however, that the proposed sale was announced on the London Stock Exchange first and before the Society's staff were told, but legal rules apparently meant this was unavoidable."

"Usdaw will begin a full consultation with the Anglia Co-operative Society shortly and we will also be seeking a meeting with Beale's as soon as possible. All our local officials have been alerted to the announcement this morning and we will be doing everything possible to represent and support our members both during the transfer process and after its completion."

Notes for Editors:

  1. The 19 stores affected are located in Beccles, Bishop Auckland, Chipping Norton, Cinderford, Diss, Harrogate, Keighley, Kings Lynn, Lowestoft, Mansfield, Peterborough, Redcar, Saffron Walden, Skegness, Skipton, Spalding, St. Neots, Wisbech and Abingdon (Contact Electrical & Comfortmaker store).
  2. Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest trade union, with over 395,000 members. Usdaw is the country's fastest growing trade union; membership has increased by more than 15% in the last four years and by over a quarter in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.