Thought leadership

The final 11 Beales department stores are set to shut, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. The 139-year-old retailer went into administration last month and soon after announced plans to close 12 of its 23 shops.

Administrators at KPMG said they are continuing discussions with “a number of interested parties” over a sale. But they are preparing to shut the remaining stores after failing to receive any “deliverable offers”.

The company has also made a further 20 staff redundant at its head office in Bournemouth, KPMG said.

It added that the remaining stores are expected to stay open for around eight weeks while closing down sales take place.

Employees across Beales stores will be retained as the stores continue to trade.

Will Wright, joint administrator for the company, said: “We’d like to thank all Beales employees for their wholehearted support and assistance during the administration process.

“We understand that the failure to achieve a sale so far will come as disappointing news, but can assure them that we will continue in our efforts to secure some form of positive outcome.”

KPMG added that, if a sale is not achieved, the precise closure date of each store will vary, depending on trading performance.

The closure of the department store group will be another blow to the UK’s struggling High Streets.

The business, one of Britain’s oldest, employed approximately 1,050 people before announcing its first closures earlier this month.

The department store began trading in Bournemouth in 1881. It reported a £3.1m deficit in the year to March 2019.

It is the latest chain to suffer from soaring business tax rates and lower demand from shoppers for physical stores.

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