Beales sunk by high rent and low sales

KPMG has been appointed as administrator of department store Beales as the company collapses into administration following high rent and poor Christmas sales

Will Wright and Steve Absolom from KPMG Restructuring have been appointed joint administrators to Beales. Founded in Bournemouth in 1881, the failure of the 23 strong chain of regional stores has put 1,052 jobs at risk as it goes into administration.

All members of staff have been retained by the joint administrators as Beales stores will continue to trade as the administrators assess options for the business, although the website has already been closed.

The 139-year-old company operated across 23 stores in locations such as Bournemouth, Worthing, Bedford, Tonbridge, Fareham and Yeovil.

Advisers from KPMG were initially hired by the business in December 2019 to explore possible sale and refinancing opportunities.

Despite interest from a number of parties, this process did not secure any potential buyers for the company, and as a result, the directors took the decision to place the company into administration.

Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: ‘With the impact of high rents and rates exacerbated by disappointing trading over the Christmas period, and extensive discussions around additional investment proving unsuccessful, there were no other available options but to place the company into administration.

‘Over the coming weeks, we will endeavour to continue to operate all stores as a going concern while we assess options for the business, including dealing with prospective interested parties. During this period gift vouchers, customer deposits and customer returns/refunds will continue to be honoured.’

Beales is the latest victim of a harsh high street climate which has already seen the likes of Mothercare fall into administration and close its remaining high street shops earlier this month, although Mothercare products are still available at Boots.

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