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Final bust Beales stores to close two weeks early due to coronavirus

By Simon Neville, PA City Editor

The final 11 Beales department stores are set to shut two weeks early after the coronavirus outbreak meant trading took a nosedive.

The remaining sites will close on Thursday, bringing an end to 139 years on the high street, with employees then being made redundant. Before collapsing, Beales employed 1,050 workers.

Administrators at KPMG said: “While this is two weeks ahead of the administrators’ original schedule, the impact of Covid-19 on the retail environment has meant that trading can no longer be supported.”

Staff will continue to work until close of business on Saturday 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 including the date of their redundancy.

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.”

The retailer slid into administration in January, before announcing plans to shut 12 of its 23 outlets, as talks with potential buyers faltered.

The 139-year-old business employed approximately 1,050 people before announcing its first closures.

It is the latest high street name to suffer from soaring business rates and the public deserting shopping centres in record numbers.