Smail’s sell-off speculation is gathering pace

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Speculation is mounting that long-established Morpeth treasure trove John Smail and Sons has been put up for sale.

The unique hardwear, furniture and household goods store, which has stayed in the same family for four generations, is believed to be on the market as a freehold sale.

Owner John Young refused to comment on the speculation, but a listing on an internet commercial property site has all the hallmarks of the Bridge Street business.

Posted on Businesses For Sale by Hilton Smythe is a three-storey Northumberland hardwear, furniture and household goods business, which “offers a wide variety of goods, including general hardwear, DIY, cookware, crockery, household accessories, furniture and rugs, to name a few”.

It occupies a “substantial mid-parade premises, ideally located on a very busy street,” and says the reason for the sale is the owner’s wish to retire after more than 45 years in the business.

The mystery property listed is on sale for £1.5million.

‘Smail’s’ is regarded with much affection both locally and further afield for its special style and layout and huge range of goods.

Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade spokesman John Beynon said: “Smail’s is a unique business, with a reputation more internationally-known than just nationally.

“Everybody who comes to Morpeth says Smail’s is an experience not to be missed and it would be a great loss to the town if it was to close.

“I would hope that someone would come forward to run it as it is. It would be a challenge to find something that could replace it.

“The late Isobel Smail, who was a partner, was one of the founding members of the chamber of trade when it relaunched in the 1950s or 1960s so the chamber has a great history with the business.”