“No intention” to close St Neots Beales store, retailer says

Signs outside the Beales store in St Neots suggest that it is closing - but the retailer has said it

Signs outside the Beales store in St Neots suggest that it is closing - but the retailer has said it will continue to trade. - Credit: Archant

Beales have confirmed that they have “no intention” to close their St Neots store.

Beales have confirmed that they have "no intention" to close their St Neots store, as they announce the closure of 12 of their 23 stores.

The joint administrators have released a list of store that are due to close, but have said that the St Neots store, based in the High Street will remain open and "continue to operate as usual".

The news comes after the retailer announced that it was going into administration last month.

Beales, which started trading in 1881 in Bournemouth and has 23 stores nationally has failed to find a buyer after it announced it was in trouble last week.

KPMG, administrators for Beales have said that the other 11 stores will continue to trade as normal until an outcome regarding the sale of the business is "clarified".

A spokesman for KPMG said: "The joint administrators of the Beales department store chain have confirmed that they remain in active discussions with interested parties regarding a going concern sale of a number of stores.

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"Unfortunately, however, no offers have been received in respect of selling all 23 stores as a going concern. As a result, the joint administrators are now in the process of developing plans with store directors and management teams to implement the closure of 12 stores.

"It is anticipated that these stores will continue to trade, running closing down sales for around eight weeks. Employees across these 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.

"There is currently no intention to implement closure plans for the remaining 11 stores, which will all continue to operate as usual until an outcome with regards to a sale of the business is clarified."

Stores that will close are; Bournemouth, Hexham, Worthing, Tonbridge, Peterborough, Mansfield, Keighley, Perth, Spalding, Wisbech, Bedford and Yeovil.

Previously, the mayor of St Neots, Councillor Gordon Thorpe, told the Hunts Post that the loss of Beales could leave St Neots in a "worrying place".

Having been around for almost 140 years the department store chain - with sites across the county - has been battling tough high street conditions.

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).