Beales, one of the oldest department store brands in Britain, is on the verge of permanently closing down all of its remaining stores as administrators at KPMG have been unable to find a buyer for the struggling business. Despite their attempts to attract potential bidders by closing roughly half of the stores, no buyer has emerged, leaving the company with no choice but to shut down all operations. This unfortunate turn of events puts hundreds of jobs at risk.

However, there may still be a glimmer of hope for Beales as KPMG is currently in discussions with interested parties regarding a possible sale of the business as a going concern. If a last-minute sale does take place, it is uncertain what the future of the surviving business would look like.

In the meantime, the company will commence closing down sales, which are expected to last for approximately eight weeks. Most of the staff will remain employed during this period. Beales, with its rich heritage dating back to 1881, has undergone numerous changes of ownership, including a management buyout in 2018. Despite receiving a positive assessment from its auditor just a few months ago, the company was forced into administration in January due to the lack of a buyer.

The financial difficulties faced by Beales can be attributed to various factors, including the burden of business rates, which were estimated to be over £1 million higher than they should have been due to the complex relief system. Additionally, high rents have also contributed to the company’s struggles. Nevertheless, it was primarily the shift in consumer shopping habits that dealt the final blow to the chain. Disappointing performance during the crucial Christmas period underscored the challenges faced by Beales and ultimately sealed its fate.

The administrators at KPMG expressed their disappointment at failing to secure a sale but assured stakeholders that they would continue their efforts to achieve a positive outcome for the company.

Useful links:
Beales Official Website: Visit Beales’ official website for more information about the company and its products.
Insolvency Service: The UK government’s Insolvency Service provides information and resources related to insolvency and business closures.