THE website of Beales was down for “maintenance” this morning amid reports that the department store could go into administration today.

It has been reported that a meeting today is likely to appoint administrators from KPMG.

The Bournemouth-based company, which has 22 stores and employs around 1,300 people, saw disappointing Christmas trade. Chief executive and owner Tony Brown has said it was facing rising costs and the “lunacy” of the business rates system.

Beales recently filed court papers stating its intention to appoint administrators. It said administration would happen unless it found new finance or a buyer for the business.

KPMG had already been appointed before Christmas to conduct a review of the business.

The website was this morning displaying only the company name and the phrase "Site maintenance".

More to follow.