Beales goes into administration with 23 shops and 1,052 jobs at risk

DEPARTMENT store chain Beales has gone into administration, putting 23 stores and 1,052 jobs at risk.

The drastic move follows failed efforts to find a buyer amid poor Christmas trading and sky high rents.

KPMG has been appointed as administrator to the Bournemouth-headquartered chain.

Founded in 1881, Beales operates 23 department stores in market towns across the UK selling a range of furniture, fashion, toys and cosmetics. It employs circa 1,052 members of staff.

Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “For over a hundred years, Beales has been a stalwart of the high street in market towns up and down the UK, but like countless similar retailers, has found trading in recent times to be incredibly tough.

"With the impact of high rents and rates exacerbated by disappointing trading over the Christmas period, and extensive discussions around additional investment proving unsuccessful, there were no other available options but to place the company into administration."

It had been hunting for a buyer since December as well as seeking to negotiate down its rents.

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The joint administrators will continue to trade all 23 stores as a going concern while they assess options for the business. All members of staff have been retained for now.

During this period gift vouchers, customer deposits and customer returns/refunds will continue to be honoured.

The company is owned by chief executive Tony Brown, who completed a management buyout of the business last year.

Recently he said retailer has struggled with difficult trading conditions and criticised the "lunacy" of high business rates.

It is the latest failure on the high street as footfall falls and costs rise. Mothercare UK recently shut up shop.

Other retailers have sought rent reductions or closed shops under restructuring deals known as CVAs. Debenhams is among those closing shops.
The British Retail Consortium has led calls for rents to be cut.

Dominic Curran, of the British Retail Consortium, said recently: "Retail's been treated as a cash cow for years by government. But it's consumers who suffer reduced choice and empty high streets when shops go bust."

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