One of Britain’s oldest department stores has collapsed into administration, putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk.
Beales has appointed KPMG as administrators after failing to secure a sale.
The department store began trading in Bournemouth in 1881 and has 22 shops.
It is understood there will be no immediate closures and Beales stores will continue to trade, although the website is offline.
The business has tried to secure rent reductions and was in negotiations with potential investors and buyers in a bid to preserve itself.
In the year to March 2019, Beale Ltd reported a loss of £3.1m, up from £1.3m for the year earlier as costs swelled and sales dipped.
Beales’ chief executive Tony Brown led a management buyout of the firm in 2018.
Beales has stores in the following towns and cities:
- Chipping Norton
- St Neots
The company’s decision to appoint administrators comes at a difficult time for UK retailers.
Recent data from the British Retail Consortium revealed that retail sales fell for the first time in a quarter of a century last year.
John Lewis has warned that its staff bonus may be in doubt as it reported Christmas sales at its department stores were down 2% for stores open at least a year.
Some companies are prospering, however.
Sports fashion retailer JD Sports says it expects to report full-year profits at the top end of forecasts. Next lifted its profit forecast after better than expected sales over Christmas trading period.