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Floridians buy relatively few winter coats.
While that may seem obvious to Floridians, it seems not all department store chains have grasped the concept.
That's all the better for Bradenton-based Beall's Department Stores, which prides itself on knowing its customers.
Beall's joins the fastest-growing private companies in the Tampa Bay area with revenue rising 28.52 percent from 1997 to 1999 to $456.3 million.
That bucks a nationwide trend of hard times for department stores.
"It's a very competitive market, that's for sure," said Malachy Kavanagh, spokesman for the International Council of Shopping Centers in New York. "They've …