The joint administrators of the Beales department store chain, Will Wright and Steve Absolom from KPMG, confirmed yesterday (Tuesday February 18) that they are ‘continuing discussions with a number of interested parties’ for a sale of the business as a going concern.
But with no deliverable offers received for the business to date, they are commencing preparations for the closure of the remaining 11 stores and associated stock liquidation. In addition, a further 20 members of staff have been made redundant from the Beales head office in Bournemouth.
KPMG anticipates that the stores will trade for a period of approximately eight weeks while closing down sales are conducted. It said employees across the stores will be retained to assist with trading over the weeks ahead, and the joint administrators and their teams will continue to work closely with staff during this period. If a sale is not achieved, the precise closure date for each store will vary, depending on trading performance and other factors encountered during the closure process.
The joint administrators said they are therefore unable to confirm exact closure dates until later in the process. Will Wright commented: “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 was appointed joint administrators to Beales on January 21. At the time, Will Wright 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.”
The Beales branch in the Kent town of Tonbridge, pictured on January 25