HEXHAM’S flagship department store has been given a stay of execution.

Beales, formerly known as Robb’s, on Fore Street, was set to close on Saturday, September 21, ending more than a century of trading in the town.

But late on Friday afternoon, Beales bosses revealed the store will re-open at its current site at the end of the month, following a significant refit.

And crucially, the Post Office which currently operates from within the building, will be retained, allaying fears over the future of the service in the town.

Beales chief executive Tony Brown said: “We will be opening a brand new format at the end of September.

"This will include the continuity of the Post Office service, and many new and upgraded departments offering an outlet style shopping environment with fantastic products and even better prices.

“We will be closed whilst significant refit works take place but hope to reopen at the end of the month.

“We would like to extend a very warm welcome to old and new customers to the new store.”

Mr Brown said Beales was working closely with Northumberland County Council, Hexham Town Council, Hexham’s Mayor Coun. Bob Hull, and landlord, Buccleuch Property.

The chief executive added that the new arrangement would continue until a redevelopment of the site, at some point in the future, which he said Beales hoped to be part of.

“We will continue with this format until the redevelopment of the site takes place,” he said. “In the meantime, with all parties working together we are pleased to be able to play our part in keeping Hexham high street vibrant over the Christmas period.”

A Beales spokeswoman said there would be no further information until early next week.