MOST of the unsold stock at Beales was sold for £1.6million as administrators gave up hope of reopening any shops during the coronavirus crisis.

An update by administrators for the department store chain says stock being held at three department stores was sold to restructuring specialist Hilco Capital.

Stock held at a fourth branch was sent to the revived Beales store in Poole, where it has been generating money for creditors.

Bournemouth-based Beales, founded in 1881, went into administration in January 2020. It had 23 stores at the time.

Joint administrator Steve Absalom of KPMG said in his latest progress report that unsecured creditors should get some money, but it was not known how much or when.

He reported: “As previously advised, trading ceased on March 19, 2020, and a strategy was deployed to deal with the remaining surplus unsold stock. Due to the ongoing difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was not deemed viable to reopen any of the four sites which held surplus unsold stock.”

Sales events run by the administrators last year were so busy that the administrators had to hire agency staff to cope with demand. The sales brought in £15.5m but were brought to an end by the first coronavirus lockdown.

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

Unsold stock was sent to four stores where staff were kept on, in Bedford, Mansfield, Peterborough and St Neots. But the continuing Covid restrictions meant administrators eventually gave up hope of trading again from those shops.

When Poole’s Beales in the Dolphin Shopping Centre reopened under a new company, New Start 2020, last summer, the administrators entered into a deal for it to sell stock from the Peterborough store. That concession agreement has so far generated £113,798 for the administrators.

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

Beales in Poole set to reopen in August

The stock at the other stores was sold to Hilco for Capital £1.6m.

A previous update last year revealed that the 139-year-old Beales brand name was sold for £5,000 to the operators of the reopened Poole store.

Beales administrators sold brand name for £5,000

KPMG has extended the period of administration for the business until next January as it works to wind up the company’s affairs.

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