March 18, 2020 3.00 pm This story is over 43 months old

Majority of employees to lose jobs as coronavirus prompts early Beales closure

Stores will close to the public on March 19

The majority of employees will be made redundant as Beales, one of Britain’s oldest department store chains, prepares to close all its remaining stores on Thursday.

The impact of coronavirus on the retail environment forced the administrators to move the original schedule forward by two weeks.

It meant that trading can no longer be supported so all remaining stores, including in Skegness and Spalding, will close on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

Staff will continue to work until the close of business on March 21 to help box-up residual stock and assist with various other closure issues.

The majority of employees will then be made redundant, with all salaries paid up to and include the date of their redundancy.

As previously reported, the firm, which began trading in Bournemouth in 1881 and has 23 stores, entered administration in January. Will Wright and Steve Absolom from KPMG Restructuring were appointed as joint administrators to Beale Limited and J E Beale Plc (“Beales”) on Monday, January 20, 2020.

Beales has a store in Spalding.

The administrators previously said it would close 12 stores, including one in Spalding. It was later confirmed that the remaining 11 would close, including the outlet in Skegness, after administrators revealed no offers had been made for them.

Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “Whilst it is regrettable that we have had to take this decision, especially given the fantastic support that the staff have provided to the business and the administrators since our appointment, the impact of these unprecedented circumstances has left us with no alternative option.

“We will be working with employees to ensure they have all the necessary information to submit claims to the Redundancy Payments Service, together with details of who to contact for any help and support they may require.”

Two of the 23 Beales stores have already closed – Hexham on February 24 and Great Yarmouth on March 15.