THE boss of Beales has warned there are “further shockwaves to come” for Bournemouth town centre as administrators prepare to wind down the business.

Preparations are being made to close all Beales’ stores over the coming weeks after no buyer emerged for the whole business.

With high street sales falling and retailers’ costs going up, it is feared the loss of Beales’ flagship Bournemouth store may not be the last in the town to shut.

Beales’ owner and chief executive Tony Brown said: “I think there are further shockwaves to come for Bournemouth town centre and I don’t think it will be too long coming. There are some very difficult times to come for Bournemouth in my view.”

Companies House records have revealed that Beales’ debts to creditors outstripped its assets by £28.3million, according to the store’s own reckoning when it went into administration in January. Mr Brown said accounting conventions meant the deficit on paper was bigger than in reality.

Some creditors, including fashion and perfume brands, are owed six-figure sums – although Mr Brown said the bills were only six or seven weeks old when the business failed after Christmas.

He said nearly 69 per cent of Beales’ bills were paid within the agreed terms.

Among the well-known names owed the largest sums when the company collapsed were fashion brand Apricot, which was owed £461,300; Craghoppers, owed a total of £217,904; Roman Originals, owed £172,537; Estee Lauder, owed a total of £182,966; and Mac Cosmetics, £104,420.

Mr Brown said: “If you can’t pay your creditors as they fall due, then you have to call in specialists.

“We recognised we wouldn’t be able to meet our debts and therefore to look after all our creditors, especially secured creditors, you’ve got to enter an administration process.”

He said it was still possible some stores could be bought but no one wanted to buy the whole business.

The 62-year-old, who acquired the chain in a management buyout in 2018, said: “When I went into the management buyout, we had a lot of hope. The market conditions have got worse.

“It’s very difficult for everybody. We’ve had talks to try and save it but at some point you’ve got to say the market isn’t going to improve and we have to do something about it.”

The company was founded on its current Bournemouth site in 1881. At the time f its collapse, it had 23 branches and employed more than 1,000 people.