Hexham’s flagship high street store, Beales, is closing down.

The boss of the Fore Street department store this week cited poor trading and high business rates among the reasons behind the decision to close this year – the lease on the store runs out this autumn.

The Bournemouth-based company has been suffering from declining performance and already has a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with its Hexham landlord.

Tony Brown, chief executive officer at Beales, said: “We have been working alongside our landlord and their architects on possible long-term options for the site that would accommodate a smaller Beales store and these discussions are ongoing.

“Since Beales entered into a CVA agreement with the landlord in 2015 they have been very supportive.

“However, the current climate on the high street alongside increasing costs, especially business rates, which now exceed our rent means we have come to the difficult decision to close the store.

“We would like to thank our colleagues and customers in Hexham for all their support over the years.”