BOURNEMOUTH-based department store chain Beales is closing a store in the north west, citing the continuing high street gloom and high business rates.

Beales is the main department store in Hexham, Northumberland, after the company took over the site of the Robbs store in 2010.

The store escaped closure when the company entered a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) which saw rent reduced on some stores and others closed.

Beales chief executive Tony Brown said: “The lease on our Hexham store expires this autumn. 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.”