BEALES stores are advertising the “last few days” of a closing down sale as the end looms for the 139-year-old retail institution.

Administrators are working towards closing the department stores by the end of the first weekend in April.

“Between now and then, there will be increased price reductions on all items in these final few days,” a spokeswoman for administrator KPMG said.

There is no firm date for the closure of Poole’s branch in the Dolphin Shopping Centre or the flagship Bournemouth branch where the business began in 1881. However, it is understood that the Bournemouth store will be the last to close because it houses the IT systems that support the others.

An email to customers, headed “Only a few days left!”, said: “We at Beales truly appreciate your business, and we’re grateful for the trust you’ve placed in us. It has truly been a pleasure serving you through the years.

“It’s now our last few days of trading, and your last opportunity to grab a bargain in our Closing Down Sale.”

The stores were also selling their fixtures and fittings, it said.

KPMG has been working to get cash into the tills before the business is wound up and its assets divided among creditors.

Attempts to find a buyer for the business have been unsuccessful. Efforts have continued to find buyers for individual stores.

However, the coronavirus crisis has led to fresh fears for high street shops, with warnings that more retailers could go to the wall.

Beales went into administration in January after disappointing Christmas trading compounded a £3million loss in the previous year.

Earlier this month, before the full impact of the coronavirus crisis, chief executive and owner Tony Brown warned there were “further shockwaves to come” for Bournemouth town centre.