A POPULAR department store, which has had a presence in Hexham for 200 years, is to close.

Hexham Outlet Centre, formerly known as Beales, announced that it would close yesterday, due to plans for the site to be redeveloped.

Beales was asked when the store was expected to shut down, but at the time of going to press had not responded.

Nick Waugh, commercial property director at Buccleuch Property, the landlord of the premises on Fore Street said: “We continue to support and work closely with Beales alongside the council whilst discussions progress regarding the redevelopment of the site.

"Our vision for the future is to create a mixed-use site that will combine retail, leisure and residential property.

“Once we have a clearer idea of the potential layout for the site, we will commence the planning application process.

"Beales will be able to continue trading during this period until consents are granted and the redevelopment work can begin. It is very much our intention to consider Beales as part of the future retail offering.”

The store changed its name to Hexham Outlet Centre last year, after Beales initially announced it would close, but later decided it would remain open on a smaller scale with a larger focus on outlet goods. In 2010, Beales bought out Robb’s, which had run the store and dated back to 1818.

Chief executive of Beales, Tony Brown, told the Courant last year he could not confirm the store’s future beyond February, due to plans to redevelop the building.