Beales Department Stores has entered administration after succumbing to a financial crisis and having posted £3.1 million losses in the 12 months to the end of March last year.
The retailer has called in administrators from KPMG who will now field enquiries from creditors and potential buyers of Beales’ assets.
Expectations are that the 22 Beales stores will remain in operation in the short term but the future is now very uncertain for those outlets and for the roughly 1,300 people employed across the business.
Efforts have been made by the company’s bosses in recent weeks to agree rent reductions at various Beales branded department stores but those endeavours are now known to have failed.
Beales’ chief executive Tony Brown suggested recently he was hopeful of establishing the business on a stronger financial footing based on having streamlined its operations and closed down several of its worst performing outlets.
Company bosses have been in discussions with KPMG for a number of weeks as potential buyers for the business were sought and potential cost-cutting ideas were explored.
However, administration has proven unavoidable and Beales now becomes the latest company added to the long list of retail businesses forced into that position in recent years.
Trading conditions have been extremely tough for retail companies across the UK for the past several years with well-known and historic brands disappearing from high streets across the country.
Beales Department Stores was founded in the late 19th century with the opening of its first outlet in Bournemouth, where its flagship store is still located to this day.
Having been listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1995, the company was returned to private ownership via a management buyout process in October 2018.
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), 2019 saw the first full-year reduction in sales growth for the UK’s retail sector as a whole since it first started recording those figures.
Both the BRC and the boss of Beales Department Stores have recently criticised the current business rates regime as being a particularly onerous for high street retailers.