Major UK department store to close all stores after 140 years on the high street

British department store chain Beales has announced its final stores are set to close to mark the end of the retailer.

The 139-year-old chain collapsed into administration last month in the latest blow to the struggling UK High Street.

Administrators at KPMG had initially shut down 12 stores, but say they are now planning to close the final 11 outlets.

They said they are shutting up shop completely after failing to receive any “deliverable offers” over a sale.

But they also said they are continuing discussions with “a number of interested parties” over a potential buyout.

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The remaining stores are expected to stay open for around eight weeks while closing down sales take place, KPMG said.

Final 11 Beales stores set to close

  • Beccles
  • Chipping Norton
  • Diss
  • Fareham
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Kendal
  • Lowestoft
  • Poole
  • Skegness
  • Southport
  • St Neots

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Previous Beales store closures:

  • Bournemouth
  • Hexham
  • Worthing
  • Tonbridge
  • Peterborough
  • Mansfield
  • Keighley
  • Perth
  • Spalding
  • Wisbech
  • Bedford
  • Yeovil

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The company has already made a 20 staff redundant at its head office in Bournemouth, on top of the store closures.

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.

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Beales, one of Britain's oldest department chains, employed approximately 1,050 people before announcing its first closures last month.

The department store began trading in Bournemouth in 1881. It reported a £3.1million 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 as they opt for the convenience of online shopping.

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