THE 139-year-old brand name of Beales was sold for just £5,000 to the operators of a new store in Poole’s Dolphin Centre, it has been revealed.

A progress report by administrators has confirmed that millions of pounds was taken at the checkouts as final sales were held at all 23 Beales stores early this year.

Trade was so busy that the administrators spent £127,822 hiring agency staff to join the regular workforce.

GALLERY: 26 pictures of Beales in Bournemouth through the years

Beales goes into administration, putting future of stores and jobs in doubt

But the shops closed on March 19 as footfall plummeted, days ahead of the government’s coronavirus lockdown.

Beales stores close for the last time

Beales took £9.6m in barely a month after administrators launched clearance sales

The company, which had been headquartered in Bournemouth since 1881, employed 1,030 staff.

Administrators are still working to sell the shops’ remaining stock.

Their report says: “With a lack of viable or executable offers, a sale of business as a going concern could not be achieved.

“We have, however, been able to generate a significant trading surplus during the administration.

“Due to Covid-19, all trading activity ceased on March 19 2020, stores were closed, and the majority of employees were unfortunately made redundant.”

Photos: The Beales story in the store's own pictures

There were three offers for the Beales name and intellectual property. The administrators sold them in June to New Start 2020for £5,000, with the buyer paying the legal costs.

New Start 2020’s directors include Andrew Perloff, the property investor who once owned the Beales chain, and Tony Brown, who bought Beales in a management buyout in 2018 and was its chief executive.

Beales department store reopens in Poole's Dolphin Centre today

New Start 2020 went on to open Beales of Poole earlier this year in a refurbished Dolphin Shopping Centre store, with Mr Brown in charge of the new operation.

Between KPMG’s appointment as administrators for the original Beales on January 20 this year and July 19, net sales totalled £15.5million.

There was a trading surplus of almost £4.5m but the administrators expect this to go down as bills are settled.

The company owed £12.6m to one of its secured creditors, the finance company Wells Fargo, which had given it a revolving credit facility and a loan and had a priority claim over almost all the company’s property. The other secured creditor was the Beales company pension scheme.

The administrators said there would be a “significant shortfall” to business’s the secured creditors.

Preferential creditors should be paid in full and there should be some payment to unsecured creditors, but the administrators could not say how much or when it would happen.

When the Beales chain closed, all the unsold stock was moved to four stores, and 20 staff were kept on and put on furlough. Sixteen stores were offered back to landlords who have not yet officially taken them back, while the Bedford store was sold for £3.3m.