Derby

Bennetts: 'World's oldest' department store closes

Bennetts
Image caption The shop opened as an ironmongers in 1734 and over the years expanded its products to became a department store

A shop billed as the "world's oldest department store" has closed.

Bennetts, which opened as an ironmongers in 1734 and later expanded its products and services, went into administration in February.

It is to be bought out of administration by local businessman Paul Hurst. However, he warned there would not be a physical store in the short-term.

The store in Iron Gate closed its doors at 16:00.

Mr Hurst said he would be creating a new retail website for Bennetts and will continue to look at the options for a physical store.

Image copyright JJPR
Image caption Paul Hurst, who owns one of Derby's oldest pubs The Old Bell Hotel, said he was passionate about keeping the Bennetts name alive

Customers have been queuing outside the store this week for an "everything must go" sale which started on Tuesday.

Robin Tarling, from administrators Bridgewood, said: "It has been phenomenally busy. We have sold probably more in the last three or four days than we would normally sell in three or four months."

He said: "It was all about going out with a bang.

"If there are hundreds of people who have gone away with a piece of Bennetts that they will remember, that is a good ending."

"Hopefully it will open again sometime next year," added Mr Tarling.

Customer Helen Kearns, from Derby, said: "I think it is very sad. It is nice to have somewhere a bit different. I will miss the Christmas tree.

"It is nice to know it is to open again though."

Iris Keeton, 83, who was visiting Bennetts with her husband George, 87, said: "I am devastated. We have been coming here for almost 40 years and we always come to Bennetts.

"I think it is a tragedy for Derby," she added.

Mr Hurst's deal, which came weeks after a previously-agreed sale to London Sole Limited fell through, is due to be completed by the end of this month.

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