A DEPARTMENT store chain has announced a massive closing down sale after it collapsed into administration.

The Beales website says that “everything must go” at several of its branches including its site in South Street, Worthing.

The store appointed administrators on Monday morning, casting doubt over its future after 140 years of trading.

The Argus:

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

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

But the shops endured a disappointing Christmas period.

The chain is also reported to have struggled to contend with rising costs and high business rates – with its Bournemouth branch alone attracting a rates bill of £440,000 a year.

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