Bealls reverses course, to shutter all but one store

HARLINGEN — Retail department store chain Stage Stores has scrapped a plan to transition its Bealls stores to Gordmans in the Rio Grande Valley, and will close all but one of its approximately 15 outlets.

The store to remain open is located in Port Isabel.

The decision was recently announced to staff at the department stores, who expressed surprise after the company said last year it was transitioning Bealls stores to off-price retailer Gordmans stores since both are owned by the same parent company, Houston-based Stage Stores.

“As is common practice in the retail industry, Stage Stores reviews its store fleet on a regular basis to ensure we remain competitive and best-positioned to provide options to our guests,” said Cheryl Moralez, senior manager for brand publicity at Stage. “As a result of our latest review, we have made the difficult decision to close our two Bealls stores in Harlingen, in the near future.

“This decision was not made lightly, as Stage Stores knows its success is rooted in our loyal guests and dedicated associates,” Moralez added. “Our Bealls store in Port Isabel will remain open and convert to Gordmans in the near future.”

Employees at the Bealls on 77 Sunshine Strip were resigned to the move to close all but one of the Valley’s stores. They said they had not as yet been offered alternative jobs with the company, which operates in 42 states and has about 625 stores under the Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage brand names.

Many of the Stage Stores operate on what is called an “off-price concept,” which means the company sells items at lower prices than those typically charged by competing retail businesses.

Off-price stores typically buy up overstocked goods or items at the low end of a seasonal demand cycle to enable them to undersell competitors and still turn a profit. Other stores employing this concept include TJ Maxx, Burlington and Ross.