A LOSS-MAKING Keighley town-centre department store could close with the loss of 26 jobs.

Beales has announced it is examining proposals whereby it would seek a restructured lease and big drop in rent from its landlord.

If no deal is struck, the company, which occupies a unit in the Airedale Shopping Centre, could move out.

Shareholders will meet later this month to discuss the so-called Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which would also affect more than a dozen of the group’s other stores.

Company chairman Stuart Lyons said: “Most of our stores are profitable and unaffected by the proposal however a minority lose money because leases agreed some years ago are no longer sustainable due to changes in the economy and local conditions – unfortunately our store in Keighley is one of them.

“We are optimistic we will agree a new rent with the landlord. In the meantime, we will continue to trade as normal.”

Rob Croxen – of KPMG, which would supervise the CVA – said: “Beales is a familiar face on the high street of many towns and cities up and down the country but in recent years, the profitability of certain stores has been hampered by expensive legacy leases which were agreed many years ago.

“This CVA seeks to strike a balance which provides a fair compromise to the landlords, while allowing the viable part of the business to move forward.

“It’s particularly important to stress that none of the stores will close on day one and employees, suppliers and business rates will continue to be paid on time and in full – something which we know from our work on previous CVAs is of critical importance to landlords.”