Allders store in Croydon goes into administration
Administrators said outstanding customer orders would be fulfilled
15 June 2012 Last updated at 16:27
Some 850 jobs are under threat as one of the biggest department stores left in London goes into administration.
Allders has been open in Croydon, south London, since 1862 and became the flagship store of a chain across England.
Croydon Council said the firm had been unable to raise enough working capital.
The council said it was disappointed that despite its best endeavours, it was unable to stop the company from going into administration.
It is the 150th year of trading for the store.
The chain had branches in Crawley, Horsham, Chichester, Camberley and Guildford – as well as cities in the north.
It was broken up in 2005 but the flagship store survived.
The department store employs 300 staff directly, while 550 people work for concessions.
The company’s director, Andrew Mackenzie, said the “tough market conditions” in the UK retail sector had forced the board to appoint administrators.
He said he hoped additional investment or a sale could be achieved.
Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP for Croydon Central, said it was a “heavy blow” for the town following the riots in Croydon last year and Nestle’s decision to leave in January.
Administrators said outstanding customer orders would be fulfilled. Council leader Mike Fisher said it was a very sad day for Croydon.
He said: “Croydon is grappling with very difficult economic conditions and reduced spending power, and this shows how even the most long-established institutions are potentially threatened.”
He added: “We remain optimistic for the future of retail in the town.
“Two of the country’s largest retail developers remain keenly interested in our main shopping centre, Whitgift, and only a few weeks ago we approved Hammerson’s plans for the remodelling and expansion of Centrale.”
Mr Barwell said the priority now was on ensuring an agreement over the future of Whitgift.
Over the last few months there has been disagreement between the leaseholder and freeholder over whether retail estate company Hammerson or shopping centre group Westfield should redevelop the site.
Mr Barwell said: “We cannot afford to let it drag on for years.”
He said he would be working with Mayor of London Boris Johnson to try to achieve a “quick resolution”.