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1,050 jobs at risk

Beales facing uncertain future as administrators move in

Beales in Perth is the latest store in the city to face uncertainty

Another of Britain’s department store chain is expected to disappear from the high street after Beales collapsed into administration, putting 1,050 jobs at risk.

KPMG was appointed to looks at options for the business after talks with a potential buyer collapsed last month.

The department store began trading in Bournemouth in 1881 and has 23 shops, including one in St John Street, Perth, which was previously home to McEwens before it fell into administration in 2016. All Beales stores continue to trade, although the website is offline.

Beales had tried to secure rent reductions with landlords and said business rates were a major cause of its financial difficulties.

The retailer was taken into private ownership by chief executive Tony Brown in 2018, 23 years after the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange.

He also accused councils of failing to help struggling retailers, saying that local authorities “really don’t care” about high street stores.

KPMG said: “Despite interest from a number of parties, this process did not secure any solvent solutions for the company, and as a result, the directors took the difficult decision to place the companies into administration.”

In the year to March 2019, Beales reported a loss of £3.1m against £1.3m in the previous year.

Will Wright, joint administrator said: “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.

“Over the coming weeks, we will endeavour to continue to operate all stores as a going concern while we assess options for the business, including dealing with prospective interested parties.”

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

Beales’s difficulties follow the collapse of Bhs and House of Fraser and closures of Debenhams stores.

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