- Bealls Inc. bought Stage Stores' intellectual property, including the trade name of Stage's Bealls banner, as well as fee rights to a distribution center for some $7 million.
- Bealls Inc. operates "Bealls" stores and outlets in Florida, Georgia and Arizona, but is unrelated to Stage Stores and the Bealls banner owned by Stage, according to Bealls Inc.'s website.
- The sale comes as Stage Stores liquidates in bankruptcy and faced a liquidity crunch amid its effort to wind down.
Two retailers with one name operated in parallel universes and to much confusion for nearly a century, until now. The Bealls banners have finally merged under one company.
Founded in 1915 by Robert Beall, Bealls Inc. started with a store that priced everything under a dollar. Today, the retailer operates more than 540 stores and is owned by its founding family. Along with Bealls, it operates the Burkes Outlet, Bunulu and Home Centric banners.
Bealls Inc. CEO and Executive Chairman Matt Beall said in a press release that the distribution center it acquired from Stage Stores will be the retailer's first outside of Florida and will help Bealls expand its Burke's Outlet chain throughout the U.S.
"We are also excited to now own the national rights to the Bealls name," Beall said. "While Beall's Inc. had rights to use the name Beall's in Florida, Georgia and Arizona, Stage had previously owned the rights to use the name nationally. We believe that this will reduce confusion and create opportunities for us as we look to further grow our store and e-commerce presence."
Bealls Inc. also bought the brand property belonging to Stage, which includes the marks and trade names for Stage Stores, Goody's, Gordmans, Palais Royal and Peebles, as well as Stage's private labels and customer lists. The company hasn't announced yet what if anything it plans to do with those assets.
The sale comes as Stage Stores faces constrained liquidity amid the continuing COVID-19 crisis and its ongoing liquidation, which lawyers for the bankrupt retailer said at a hearing earlier in October.
And so the book is mostly closed on Stage Stores and its subsidiaries as the world has known them. It's a dizzying, disastrous turn for a retailer that about a year ago posted strong sales growth and accelerated a plan to convert its store fleet to the off-price Gordmans banner.