DEPARTMENT store chain Beales has collapsed into administration.

Beales, which has a store in Kendal, appointed administrators on Monday morning, throwing the future of the department store chain into doubt after almost 140 years of trading.

The stores’ chief executive Tony Brown said there were still “active talks with various parties” going on about the future of the business and he hoped it could be saved.

The company has appointed KPMG handle the administration.

Beales has 22 stores and around 1,300 staff across the country.

Although the Hexham store had already been earmarked for closure, the landlord of the property on Fore Street, Buccleuch Property, had previously said it was still its intention to consider Beales as part of the future of the site. It plans to create a mixed-use site that will combine retail, leisure and residential property.

As well as disappointing Christmas trading, Beales had faced rising costs and high business rates.