BEALES has appointed administrators this morning, throwing the future of the department store chain into doubt after almost 140 years of trading.

The stores’ boss said there were still “active talks with various parties” going on about the future of the business and he hoped it could be saved.

The company - which has a store in Worthing - has appointed KPMG handle to the administration.

Beales stores are continuing to trade, although “Closing down sale” signs will appear later this week.

Beales has 22 stores and around 1,300 staff across the country.

As well as disappointing Christmas trading, it has faced rising costs and high business rates – with its Bournemouth branch alone attracting a rates bill of £440,000 a year.

This is what readers think about Beales being on the verge of administration

Mr Brown said: “While we’ve had a very positive response from all our landlords, which have included Bournemouth, the conversations with BCP Council are exceptionally difficult as they don’t want to set a precedent. The precedent would be to end this lunacy of business rates.”

‘Abolish business rates’ call follows Beales difficulties

He added that BCP was “no more difficult than most councils”.

Sources said the appearance of closing down sale signs would make the situation look “bleaker than it is” as KPMG works to find a profitable future for the stores.

The Beales website was taken down for “site maintenance” ahead of the news.

Beales was founded in Bournemouth by John Elmes Beale in 1881.