Final Beales department stores to shut after no buyer is found
PUBLISHED: 21:41 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 22:45 18 February 2020
The final 11 Beales department stores in the country are set to shut, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
Beales runs a number of shops across Norfolk and Suffolk, including Diss and Beccles.
It also has two sites in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, having bought out the Palmers chain in 2018.
The retailer slid into administration in January, before announcing plans to shut 12 of its 23 outlets.
Since then "store closing" and "stock liquidation" signs have been put up in store windows in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
Administrators at KPMG said they are continuing discussions with "a number of interest parties" over a sale, but have started preparations to close the remaining stores after failing to receive any "deliverable offers".
The company has also made a further 20 staff redundant at its head office in Bournemouth, KPMG said.
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It added that the remaining stores are expected to trade for around eight weeks while closing down sales take place.
Employees across Beales stores will be retained as the stores continue to trade.
The administrators said they will continue to work closely with staff in the coming weeks.
Will Wright, joint administrator for the company, said: "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 added that, if a sale is not achieved, the precise closure date of each store will vary, depending on trading performance.
The 139-year-old business employed approximately 1,050 people before announcing its first closures.
It is the latest high street name to suffer from soaring business rates and the public deserting shopping centres in record numbers.