Bealls Outlet Opens Buying Office in California Market Center

Bealls Outlet, a Florida-based company that operates 458 discount stores in 16 states, has opened its first buying office in Los Angeles.

The new 2,000-square-foot office, located in the California Market Center, is staffed with a small team of buyers hoping to partner with more California vendors interested in selling off-priced goods.

"The intention is to have our feet on the ground in Los Angeles to cover the entire West Coast," said Tianne Doyle, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer for Bealls Outlet, a division of Bealls Inc., headquartered in Bradenton, Fla. "We have been doing business with vendors in Los Angeles, but we believe there is more opportunity there. With the increased frequency of sending buyers across the country, we felt there was a business benefit to having buyers in the market."

Doyle said even though some of the company's biggest vendors have been located in Los Angeles, buyers usually flew out from Florida or other locations to do deals. "While technology is great, face time with vendors is the way to do business," she said.

The new Bealls Outlet office takes over a space on the CMC's seventh floor that has long been vacant. For a while, it was the temporary office for the 24 Seven employment agency, which relocated to the second floor.

Prior to that, the space had been occupied for many years by the buying office Bregman & Associates, which shuttered its doors in 2005 after its main client, the May Co., was acquired by Macy's.

Bealls Inc. was founded in 1915 by Robert M. Beall Sr. and operates Bealls department stores, Bealls Outlets, Burke's Outlets, Bealls Clearance Stores and Bealls Home Outlet. Bealls Outlets was launched in 1987, and the chain has stores in Arizona, Florida and Georgia. In other states, the outlet stores operate under the Burke's Outlet name.

The average Bealls Outlet store is 20,000 square feet and sells a variety of goods, from clothing to home furnishings, at 70 percent of regular prices, Doyle said.

Reaction to the new buying office was positive. One vendor, who has done some business in the past with Bealls Outlet, saw this as promising for his company. "I'm hoping to do a lot more business with them in the future," said the vendor, who preferred to remain anonymous.

Bealls joins several other off-price buying offices located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles' Fashion District. Ross Stores Inc. has a very large buying center on the ninth floor of the California Market Center, and Burlington Coat Factory plans to move into a 10,000-square-foot buying office in the Cooper Design Space.

As time goes on, the number of buyers working at the Bealls Outlet buying office will increase, but the company has no immediate plans to open any stores in California, Doyle said. "Growth in the past three years has been focused on the Southeast, and this year it has been in Arizona and Texas," the chief merchandising officer said. "We believe there is a customer there for our stores."