Published on 18 - June - 2012
Slump in sales forces Allders into administrationDepartment store Allders of Croydon collapsed into administration last week, blaming its failure on adverse trading conditions.
Around 850 jobs are now at risk at the beleagured store
The 150-year-old shop is Britain's third-biggest department store with 500,000 sq ft of space. Commenting on the latest news, retail entrepreneur Harold Tillman, who acquired the Croydon store in 2005, said: "Now there could be a very big, empty shop in the middle of Croydon."
Allders has some 850 employees, 300 in permanent roles and 550 who work in concessions in the store, all of whose jobs are now at risk.
The store currently remains open for business and administrators Duff & Phelps say they are "exploring all potential options to maximise the realisation for the company's creditors, including a sale of the business".
Allders' fate is the result of poor sales and the failure of recent crisis talks over rent with its landlord Minerva.
Minerva said that it had offered to help the store but that it was "very disappointed that...the board of Allders has been unable to conclude that the business is viable going forward".
In a statement put out on Friday, Allders said: "The board of Allders has today taken the decision to place the company into administration following a marked downturn in sales brought on by the well-publicised economic difficulties facing the UK."
Chief executive Andrew McKenzie added: "Whilst our funders, shareholders and concession partners have been supportive throughout and the ongoing restructure was progressing, the tough market conditions in the UK retail sector have forced the board to appoint administrators in order to protect the business and its creditors.
"We will now work with the administrator to continue ongoing discussions with funders and other interested parties in the business."
Meanwhile, Croydon Council says it will defer Allders' business rate payments.
Allders first went into administration in 2005. All 50 of its stores closed with the exception of Croydon, which was taken over by Harold Tillman.
The store was saved from the brink of administration in 2010, and then earlier this year Mr MacKenzie led a management buyout, leaving Mr Tillman with a 30% interest.
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