Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fragrances and beauty products are going under the hammer in North Lincolnshire following the demise of one of county’s last locally owned department stores.

Hills Department Store has been a landmark town centre shopping attraction in Spalding since the late 1950s, owned for more than sixty years by members of the same family. When they decided to call it a day three years ago, a local entrepreneur stepped in to save the business, renaming it Coneys and making changes that it was hoped would ensure its survival.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. At the end of May came the announcement that in the face of significantly increasing costs and declining sales it had been decided there was no alternative to closing the store. The company has gone into liquidation and they have now instructed Eddisons to sell off the entire contents of the store.

Emptying a department store of close to a million pounds worth of cosmetics, homewares, clothing, footwear and wines & spirits at retail value is an interesting challenge. It took two articulated lorries and a fleet of removal vans three days to achieve the transfer from Spalding to the Eddisons Auction Centre in Scunthorpe.

The stock is to be sold in a series of online auctions, the first of which – a two-day sale involving the contents of the Coneys Beauty Department – is to take place on Tuesday September 26th and Wednesday 27th.

The auction extends to 782 lots from some of the world’s most famous luxury brands: Dior, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Valentino, Estée Lauder, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, and on and on.

The creations going under the hammer in the sale include a vast range of perfumery and make-up, plus some very upmarket body care and toiletry products. There is also quite a number of gift sets providing various combinations of perfume/makeup/hand cream/soap etc.

Incidentally, the gift sets include a number aimed at men. There is nothing very surprising about the Dunhill London Century’s set of shower gel and aftershave (apart perhaps from the £59 recommended retail price) but the Clinique set might be alien territory to some chaps – face scrub, charcoal face wash and anti-aging moisturiser.

That said the most expensive single lot in the auction is a men’s fragrance – Royal Water, a scent made by Creed, the Parisian perfume house that was, believe it or not, founded by an 18th century English tailor. Royal Water is, claims Creed, ‘a fragrance for the glamorous socialite’. Clearly a chap who doesn’t mind shelling out the recommended £245 for just 120ml.

Following on from this auction will be sales of the other stock including wines and spirits, clothing, footwear, home and giftware and furniture.

The online auctions will take place from Tuesday 26 September – Wednesday 27 September, with viewing available on Monday 25 September.

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