Bournemouth: Store chain Beales placed into administration

Beales, the 140-year-old UK department stores chain, has been placed into administration.

Will Wright and Steve Absolom from KPMG Restructuring have been appointed joint administrators to Beale and JE Beale plc.

Founded in Bournemouth in 1881, Beales operates 23 department stores in market towns across the UK selling a range of furniture, fashion, toys and cosmetics. It employs circa 1,052 members of staff.

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

Beales said that despite interest from a number of parties, this process did not secure any solvent solutions for the company, and as a result, the directors took the difficult decision to place the companies into administration.

The joint administrators will continue to trade all 23 stores as a going concern while they assess options for the business. All members of staff have been retained by the joint administrators to assist in trading the stores.

Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “For over 100 years, Beales has been a stalwart of the high street in market towns up and down the UK, but like countless similar retailers, has found trading in recent times to be incredibly tough. 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.”

Source: CoStar