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Stay of execution for Diss department store as 12 close



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The administrator of Beales Department Stores is to close 12 of its shops – but the Diss branch is one that will remain open.

A representative for KPMG said its plan to sell the brand’s UK-wide 23 stores has not worked, forcing it to close half of them.

The company, which was founded by John Elmes Beale and began trading in 1881, employs around 1,000 people and started to engage with advisers from KPMG in December.

The Beales store in Market Place, Diss, is one of 11 to stay open. Photo by Mark Bullimore.
The Beales store in Market Place, Diss, is one of 11 to stay open. Photo by Mark Bullimore.

Its intention was to explore possible sale and refinancing opportunities, including negotiating rent reductions and finding other investors and buyers for the chain.

A spokesman for the administrator said: “There is currently no intention to implement closure plans for the remaining 11 stores, which will all continue to operate as usual until an outcome with regard to a sale of the business is clarified.”

The flagship store for Beales, in Bournemouth, is one of the shops that will close, as well as branches in Peterborough, Wisbech and Spalding.

The spokesman added: “It is anticipated that these stores will continue to trade, running closing down sales for around eight weeks.

“Employees across these stores will be retained to assist with trading over the weeks ahead, and we will continue to work closely with staff during this period.”

In the year to March, 2019, the parent company reported a loss of £3.1 million as costs swelled and sales dipped.

The administrator confirmed that it remained in active discussions with a number of interested parties regarding a sale of the remaining 11 stores.



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