One of Britain's oldest department stores, which has a branch in Kendal, has gone into administration putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk.

Beales collapsed after failing to find a last-minute buyer to rescue the 139-year-old business, it has been confirmed.

About 1,000 jobs at the 22 stores are now at risk, as administrators from KPMG step in to see if the business can be saved.

Beales has stores in the following towns and cities:

  • Beccles

  • Bedford

  • Bournemouth

  • Chipping Norton

  • Diss

  • Fareham

  • Hexham

  • Keighley

  • Kendal

  • Lowestoft

  • Mansfield

  • Perth

  • Peterborough

  • Poole

  • Skegness

  • Southport

  • Spalding

  • St Neots

  • Tonbridge

  • Wisbech

  • Worthing

  • Yeovil

Credit: PA

The company was previously in talks with landlords over rent reductions, through a Company Voluntary Arrangement, and reports suggested two potential buyers had been lined up.

Chief executive Tony Brown told local newspaper The Daily Echo, before the administration announcement, that the retailer has struggled with difficult trading conditions and criticised the "lunacy" of high business rates.

He said: "I can’t predict which stores will stay and which stores won’t because it all depends on landlords and local government."

The company began trading in Bournemouth in 1881 and employs 1,300 workers across 22 stores.