THE first business to move in to the former Beales department store is now open.

Slaters Menswear opened for business yesterday at the Grade-II listed building in Deansgate which closed two years ago.

Assistant manager Mark Murphy told The Bolton News that the staff are excited to be in the historic building.

He said: "We’re in a prime location in this lovely building which is synonymous with Bolton. Everybody knows it as Whitakers or Beales. For us, it’s a fantastic move and it’s a great opportunity to promote Slater as a brand."

The new store has been fitted out and filled entirely with new stock including some new lines.

The same service will be offered at the new store, including free alterations, but Mr Murphy said there would be one big difference.

He said: “We're one of the first menswear stores to be on a ground level. We’re normally first-levels. We just want to try something completely different that we’ve never done before. Apart from it being on the ground level, everything stays exactly the same. Nothing at all has changed its just purely the fact that we’re on the ground level."

The menswear retailer relocated from its Oxford Street store this week after alterations were made to the listed building.

A dessert parlour is looking set to move in to the other side of the building as its prepares to open its first Bolton store in late June.

The dessert parlour, which was granted planning permission in January, will be the franchise’s 12th store in the UK.

Beales, formerly known as Whitakers, closed on New Year’s Eve two years ago and has been vacant ever since.

Bolton Civic trust has welcomed the news that the iconic building has been preserved.

There are other units still available for commercial use within the building.