Uncertainty around Beales as retailer says store will “continue to trade”
- Credit: Archant
A question mark still hangs over the future of the of the St Neots Beales store as ‘closing down sale’ signs appear in the window, but the retailer says the store will “continue to trade”.
Today (Monday), the administrators appointed to Beales KMPG told The Hunts Post that the "St Neots branch of Beales will continue to trade", but if it proves "unsuccessful" the store could close.
A statement from KMPG said: "Per the original statement from the joint administrators, the St Neots branch of Beales will continue to trade in administration, while the joint administrators continue to explore the possibility of a sale of the business.
"However, if a sale of the business ultimately proves unsuccessful, the store will close. We cannot comment at this moment in time around potential timings, but we will, of course, keep you posted over the coming days and weeks with regards to any updates."
The news comes after Beales announced it was going into administration on January 20 after failing to find a buyer, putting 1,000 jobs at risk across the country.
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The mayor of St Neots, Councillor Gordon Thorpe, said that the loss of Beales could leave St Neots in a "worrying place".
"I am really worried that one of our biggest retailers is at risk of closing. This is just another nail in the coffin for the High Street. Retailers are already struggling and this will really be another reason for people not to visit the town."
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Beales, which started trading in 1881 in Bournemouth and has 22 stores nationally.
Having been around for almost 140 years the department store chain - with sites across the county - has been battling tough high street conditions. The retailer also has stores in Wisbech, Peterborough, Diss in Norfolk and Bedford.
In the year to March 2019, Beales posted a loss of £3.1m, up from £1.3m for the year earlier as costs increased and sales dipped.
It comes after UK retail sales fell for the first time in a quarter of a century last year.
Sales in November and December fell by 0.9%, according to industry body the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The retailer is still yet to announce which stores will be affected, but it is likely that stores in the county will see job losses and could even close.