FOLLOWING the closure of its only Tyne Valley base last month, it has been announced the remaining 21 Beales department stores around the country have closed.

Hexham’s Beales, formerly Robbs, closed on February 24, and was one of two stores, along with Great Yarmouth, which had closed prior to last week.

However, the joint administrators of the Beales department store chain, Will Wright and Steve Absolom from KPMG, confirmed that all remaining Beales stores closed last week.

The department store chain Beales went into administration in January this year.

All of its stores were planned to close, but the announcement came two weeks ahead of schedule.

A spokeswoman said the impact of Covid-19 on retailers had meant that trading could no longer be supported.

Staff continued to work until close of business on March 21 to help box up residual stock and assist with closing down the stores.

A statement from the administrators said the majority of employees would be made redundant, with all salaries paid up to and including the date of their redundancy.

Will Wright, a partner at KPMG, said: “Whilst it is regrettable that we have had to take this decision, especially given the fantastic support that the staff have provided to the business and the administrators since our appointment, the impact of these unprecedented circumstances has left us with no alternative option. We will be working with employees to ensure they have all the necessary information to submit claims to the Redundancy Payments Service, together with details of who to contact for any help and support they may require.”

The closure of Hexham’s store brought an end to a department store serving the town since Robbs opened 200 years ago.