Heal & Son Ltd. is a department store chain comprising six stores, selling a range of furniture, lighting, accessories, and home and garden wares.
The original Heals business was established in 1810 by John Harris Heal and his son Ambrose Heal, who worked in the company as a craftsman and designer before becoming chairman from 1893 to 1953. Originally a bed-making firm, Heals was run as a family business designing, manufacturing and selling furniture and household goods until 1983.
Heal & Son Ltd. has operated since its foundation in Tottenham Court Road in London’s West End, and from the present site since 1840. Its first purpose-built store, completed in 1854, was then one of the largest in London.
A second store was opened in Guildford in 1972 and the company remained highly profitable until the mid 1970s, when it began to suffer losses, principally in its non-retail businesses.
Until its acquisition by Storehouse plc in 1983, Heal & Son Ltd. operated as a number of seperate companies carrying out particular trading activities. These included retailing, contracting, fabric conversion and wholesaling, furniture and bed and bedding manufacture. The various operating companies were owned by an investment company, Heal & Son (Holdings) Ltd. After the acquisition, the number of trading activities were reduced and the company operated solely as a retailer. In 1995 a new department store was opened in Kings Road in Chelsea, London.
In 2001 Heals was acquired by Wittington Investments Ltd. Since the takeover, new stores have been opened in Manchester in 2003 (now closed), Leeds in 2005 and Brighton in 2007.
There is a lot of variety with Heal overprints, with differences in wording, style and font.