Bennetts: Buyer found for ‘world’s oldest’ department store

Paul Hurst Image copyright JJPR
Image caption Paul Hurst said he was passionate about keeping the Bennetts name alive

A shop billed as the “world’s oldest department store” is to be bought out of administration by a local businessman.

Bennetts has been in Derby since 1734 but went into administration in February.

Administrators said a sale had been agreed with Paul Hurst, who already owns one of the city’s oldest pubs.

However, Mr Hurst said it may not be possible to keep the store in its current location in Iron Gate.

Image caption The shop opened as an ironmonger in 1734

The deal, which comes weeks after a previously-agreed sale to London Sole Limited fell through, is due to be completed by the end of this month.

Mr Hurst is already the owner of The Old Bell Hotel, which dates back to 1650 and is located on a neighbouring street.

He said he would be creating a new retail website for Bennetts but warned there would not be a physical store in the short-term.

“We have worked tirelessly to look at all the options, including reconfiguring the building in Iron Gate, to keep Bennetts open in its original home,” he said.

“However, there is at least £300,000 of work that needs to be done immediately and I am sure more major repairs are likely to be uncovered during work on such an old building.

“We will continue to look at the options for a physical store – remaining in the Cathedral Quarter – although this will not be a short-term solution and could take some time to resolve.”

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