The joint administrators of Derbyshire retailer Bennetts (Irongate) Limited, which trades as Bennetts Department Store at 8 Iron Gate in Derby, have confirmed that a sale of the Bennetts name and all assets in the Derby store has been agreed, subject to contract.
Details of the buyer will be disclosed as soon as the sale completes, which both parties expect to be by April 30.
Paul Mallatratt, who is joint administrator – along with Louise Freestone – of Bridgewood Financial Solutions, said: “We are very pleased to have achieved a sale in principle, which will ensure the iconic Bennetts brand continues to have a strong presence on Iron Gate. We are confident that the proposed purchaser, who has existing retail operations in the South of England, will be able to revive the store whilst also preserving everything that is loved about the Bennetts brand.”
However, Bennetts’ other Derbyshire branch – at 19 St John Street in Ashbourne – was not included in the deal and doors closed to this store last Saturday (April 13).
Paul said: “Disappointingly it was not possible to secure a buyer for the Ashbourne store. We would like to express our sincere thanks to all staff in Ashbourne who, throughout the period of the trading administration, have conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism.”
Billed as ‘the oldest department store in the world’, Bennetts went into administration on February 8. At the time Bridgewood Financial Solutions said: ‘Bennetts has been a stalwart of Derbyshire high streets for over 300 years, with the first shop opening on Iron Gate in Derby in 1734.
‘However, its loyal customer base has not been sufficient to sustain it through a very challenging period on the high street, with the perfect storm of weakening consumer confidence, increasing competition from online retailers and escalating costs taking its toll on the business.’