Department store chain Beales with a branch in Wisbech warns it is close to collapse
Beales - which is said to be one of the oldest department store chains in the country - with branches in Wisbech and Spalding is in danger of collapse.
The chain, which began trading in Bournemouth in 1881, said 22 stores and 1,000 jobs were at stake if it cannot find a buyer.
The firm is negotiating with its landlords to try to agree rent reductions.
The BBC is also reporting that it is in talks with two potential buyers - a rival retailer and a venture capital investor.
Chief executive Tony Brown led a management buyout of the firm in 2018 and he is reportedly hoping to save the long-term future of the brand which has been on high streets for almost 140 years.
He has said "it's been one of the most challenging times for retail on record" adding that Christmas had not delivered what they had hoped to achieve in terms of sales.
Mr Brown is hopeful the company can be "restructured for a profitable future" but was unable to say which of the 22 branches were likely to be saved.
Beales took over the Wisbech store, which was formerly Westgate House, in 2011 when the Anglia Regional Co-operative Society agreed the sale of 19 stores, including eight in the East of England,in a deal valued at £7.5million.
More by this authorSarah Cliss