Croydon Village Outlet forced to close within hours of grand opening
Croydon Village Outlet has been forced to shut within two hours of opening for the first time after the store's tills stopped working.
Hundreds of shoppers eagerly rushed through the doors as the UK's biggest designer outlet store, Croydon Village Outlet, opened for the first time at 1pm.
Close to a thousand people turned out for the opening of the store by Harry Derbidge from The Only Way is Essex.
But at about 2.30pm the tills at the store stopped working and staff have announced the store is to close until further notice while the problem is corrected.
They have since announced the store will not open again until 10am tomorrow.
The store has claimed it was incredible demand that casued the tills to crash.
Shoppers have reported queues of angry customers waiting at the tills with items they cannot buy.
No one is now being allowed into the store.
Bargain-hungry shoppers flooded in when the doors opened
It was an embarassing start for the department store - where a main escalator wasalso not working, and the food hall did not open until the store had been forced to close to new customers.
At the opening staff also spent several minutes looking for the keys to unlock the doors for shoppers to be allowed inside.
A section where the top-end designer items will be on sale will also not open until the weekend.
Speaking before the store closed Mr Cash said: "I am feeling good, not stressed. I am very comfortable with how it is going; a few technical hitches but that is to be expected for the third largest department store in Europe."
Many shoppers were not impressed with the opening day for the store.
One said: "It does not meet your expectations. I liked it the way it was but I wouldn't say it was better."
Another angry customer waiting in the queue to purchase items after the tills had broken said: "I have been queuing for half an hour but we havent moved.
"They should have made sure the tills were working before opening, it is ridiculous."
One lady waiting outside the new shop said: "I havent even been allowed in, I don't know why.
"I had such high hopes for this place, I hope this isn't a sign of things to come- I hope it wont be another Allders."
The department store has promised designer brands such as Armani, Gaultier and Gucci will all be on sale with reported discounts of 35 to 75 per cent on high street prices.
The 500,000sq ft store in the former Allders building is being backed by entrepreneur Marco Cash who has said he wants to create a "Harrods of the South-East".
Shoppers literally raced through the store once they were let in
A statement from Croydon Village Outlet following the closure said: “At 1pm today the Croydon Village Outlet opened the doors to thousands of waiting shoppers, who flooded in to take advantage of the designer brands in store at 75 per cent off.
“During the first hour, the demand was so high that our systems overloaded, and engineers are now on site to fix our network of tills.
“We know this will be a disappointment for many shoppers who were turning out later today, but we are hopeful that systems will be back online as soon as possible and we can reopen the doors safely to customers.”
Shopper Sarah Yerkanna who works in East Croydon was refused entry to the store despite her two daughters being inside queuing at the till and her having their money.
She said: "I finished work and came here to go with them because I had the money for them to pay.
"One of my daughters is pregnant but they wouldn't let me go I kept saying 'I am not lying', but they said no.
"I am very disappointed because I was looking forward to buying things for my sons who I am visiting in December and I couldn't get them the perfume I wanted or anything.
"My daughters couldn't get all of what they wanted because I couldnt get to them to give them the money.
"I will give it a chance tomorrow and see if I can get in but I won't be happy if I can't. It is very bad, they have inconvenienced all the customers who were waiting for hours and hours to get in."
Allicia Singh from New Addington said: "The queues were so long they were all the way around the store like a snake-it was crazy.
"They opened before they were ready, some of the areas in the store are'nt proper yet, they were in too much of a rush.
"I think they should have put a notice in the window saying they couldn't open because of technical problems-its all a rush and it is bad."
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