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Beales to close half of its stores after collapse

The 139-year-old business collapsed into administration in January.

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Beales department store in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire (Steve Parsons/PA)

Beales department store in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire (Steve Parsons/PA)

Beales department store in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire (Steve Parsons/PA)

Department chain Beales is to close 12 of its stores after efforts to sell all 23 failed, according to administrators KPMG.

The 139-year-old business collapsed into administration in January after it was unable to secure a last-minute buyer.

KPMG, who were brought in to see if the business could be saved, said the 12 stores are to run closing down sales for around eight weeks, and staff will keep their jobs until then.

There are no plans to close the remaining 11 stores, according to KPMG (Steve Parsons/PA)
There are no plans to close the remaining 11 stores, according to KPMG (Steve Parsons/PA)

The department store chain employs about 1,050 people.

Administrators said there is currently no intention to implement closure plans for the remaining 11 stores, which will continue to operate as usual “until an outcome with regards to a sale of the business is clarified”.

Among those to be closed are its flagship store Bournemouth, Peterborough and Mansfield, according to KPMG.

The Bournemouth-based retailer was previously in talks with landlords over rent reductions.

It is the latest high street name to suffer from soaring business rates and the public deserting shopping centres in record numbers.

House of Fraser fell into administration in 2018, before it was snapped up by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group – formerly Sports Direct.

Debenhams also fell into administration and was rescued by its lenders, leading to the closure of 19 stores.

A Government spokesman said: “We are aware that the administrators for Beales have decided to implement a closure programme for 12 out of the 23 stores.

“We understand this must be a worrying time for employees and their families.

“The Government is in continuing contact with the administrators and stands by to help those affected find new employment as soon as possible.”

PA