“Store closing” signs have appeared in the windows of the under-threat Beales department store in Perth despite administrators insisting they are trying to save the shop.
Politicians are demanding that KPMG remove the signage, which read “store closing – everything must go”, fearing the banners are counterproductive and could “muddy the waters” of attempts to keep the store open.
The controversial displays appeared just days after Beales crashed into administration when the company failed to find a last minute buyer for the department store chain.
On Monday KPMG declared that all Beales outlets would continue to trade as a going concern while the administrators assessed their options.
However the newly erected signs seem be in stark contrast to the administrators current position.
Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, said: “These signs are counterproductive and seem to fly in the face of what KPMG’s public position.
“All possible efforts must be made to save Beales and I am concerned that signage such as this will only muddy the waters and send a negative message regarding the store’s future prospects.”
His colleague John Swinney, SNP MSP for Perthshire North, asked for the signs to be removed.
Mr Swinney said: “Based upon the public statements of the administrators, these signs do not seem to be an accurate reflection of the ongoing situation.
“Whilst it is clear that the threat of closure is very real, it is my understanding that efforts are ongoing to secure a buyer and therefore safeguard the store’s longer-term future.
“To that end, I feel that it would be appropriate to remove these signs.”
KPMG said that the signs are “reflective” of the ongoing situation at the department store chain.
A spokesperson for the company said: “The store is being traded as a going concern currently, but the business has fundamentally been placed into administration. Unless a buyer is found the store will close.
“We can’t currently comment on how long that business will continue trading as a going concern, but it won’t be indefinite and the signage has to be reflective of that.”
Beales is located in a landmark site in Perth’s city centre which previously housed McEwens for nearly 150 years before it too collapsed into administration in 2016.
It is believed that the implications of losing Beales would be huge for the future of Perth’s city centre retail with Mr Wishart calling on the store to salvaged in any “slimmed down ” version of the chain.