Robbs transformation is un-Beale-ievable
Less than three months after acquiring Robbs of Hexham, indie department store operator Beales has wasted no time at all in sprucing up the store and its ranges ahead of next month’s official relaunch.
I’ve visited the store on three occasions since the takeover – most recently a week ago – and it has been a hive of makeover activity each time. New wooden flooring and white ceramic tiles have replaced the mangy old carpets, while the entire shop seems to be getting a fresh coat of paint – crisp white in the stair areas and black for the displays, but with various bold colours used to delineate different departments. With the store’s windows cleared of the clutter that was blocking views in or out, the overall effect of the changes is to create a shop that feels airy, bright and modern.
The layout and merchandising is also getting a welcome overhaul. The new cosmetics hall, for example, is taking shape at the front of the store, and the menswear department has enjoyed a welcome refresh of its ranges. Beales’ new own-brand quality formalwear, Broadbents & Boothroyds, is in place, while the addition of some younger and trendier menswear names is another positive change.
In addition to Wallis, more quality concessions also look to be on the way, with Robbs’ window advertising jobs at Jacques Vert, Jane Shilton, Joules and Estee Lauder, as well as for a new hair salon.
As I hoped, there are also signs that the outside of the store is getting some attention, with black paintwork already replacing the faded blue. One can only assume that new white-on-black signage will follow shortly, though I haven’t noticed any planning application for advertising consent as yet.
All in all, it’s quite a transformation already for a store that seemed destined for closure barely three months ago.