Beales, which has 22 stores up and down the country, confirmed that it may have to call in administrators.
One of Britain’s oldest department stores has warned that it could collapse into administration, according to a report by the BBC. Beales, which began trading in Bournemouth in 1881, said 22 stores and 1,000 jobs were at stake if it cannot find a buyer. The firm is negotiating with landlords to try and agree rent reductions. It is also in talks with two potential buyers – a rival retailer and a venture capital investor, the BBC understands.
Chief executive Tony Brown led a management buyout of the firm in 2018.
Beales has been around for almost 140 years, but poorer than expected trading over Christmas threatens its survival, according to Rob Young, BBC business correspondent. He writes: “Even if its immediate future can be assured, store closures aren’t being ruled out, with a risk to jobs. The British Retail Consortium said last year was the high street’s worst on record.”
In the year to March 2019, Beale Ltd posted a loss of £3.1m, up from £1.3m for the year earlier as costs swelled and sales dipped.
Beales has stores in the following towns and cities: Beccles, Bedford, Bournemouth, Chipping Norton, Diss, Fareham, Hexham, Keighley, Kendal, Lowestoft, Mansfield, Perth, Peterborough, Poole, Skegness, Southport, Spalding, St Neots, Tonbridge, Wisbech, Worthing and Yeovil.