BUSINESS: Beales department stores face closure after going into administration

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Thousands people across the South coast are facing the prospect of job losses as leading department store Beales calls in Administrators KPMG.

The department store chain announced it was facing problems last week, citing high business rates and rents as one of the reasons why it was struggling to compete with stiff online competition.

Despite this, the chain opened a new branch in Fareham as recently as November last year, with CEO Tony Brown saying it was their busiest opening he can remember.  He said at the opening: “The customer feedback has been probably the best feedback in my whole career. It’s without a doubt going to be something good for people in Fareham.”

Many will now be questioning why a store in such a financially precarious position was embarking on the opening of a new store costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, only two months before entering administration.

Beales first store opened in Bournemouth in 1881, with the local BCP council recently naming the pedestrianised square outside the store ‘Beales Place’ in honour of the business’ long standing presence in the town.

Administrators were called in after the firm failed to secure a buyer for the financially stricken business last week. Administrators will now seek to save the business by continuing to find a possible buyer but should their efforts fail, Beales will be wound up and all assets sold to pay the company’s debts.

The company’s collapse into administration has sent shockwaves through the Town centre business community with Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Chief Ian Girling commenting: “We are very sorry to hear the news about Beales. The pressures facing them and retail businesses in general have been well documented. We’ve offered to support Beales in any way we can and hope it manages to find a positive outcome.  High street businesses are facing huge challenges on many levels”.

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