Retailers abandon Croydon Village Outlet 'shambles' after going weeks unpaid
Croydon Village Outlet has descended into "a shambles" with suppliers going unpaid for months and police called to disputes over stock, staff said this week.
Several retailers this month abandoned their concessions within the town-centre department store, which opened in September amid much fanfare, amid falling customer numbers and mounting arrears.
It is understood retailers went at least seven weeks without receiving money from sales earlier this year.
The situation is said to be so dire that some staff said they feared the North End store could close, just six months after owner Marco Cash declared it would last for 150 years.
One employee, who has worked at the store since it opened and did not want to be named, said: "It is a shambles.
"There store is looking dreadful and all is happening is sales are going down and down and concessions are trying to pull out left, right and centre.
"Half a dozen have left in the last couple of weeks.
He added: "Everyone is just waiting for them to go bust because there is no stock now because none of the concessions are being paid so none of them are sending any stock.
"No one ever tells you what's going on. They avoid speaking to you."
Croydon Village Outlet is understood have called the police when a gifts retailer tried to remove their stock from the department store.
The retailer later agreed to continue trading there if they could install their own tills, an arrangement many traders have now insisted on.
Initially Croydon Village Outlet took all sales proceeds before paying concessions their share.
Hatz, a family-run business that previously traded in Allders department store, pulled out of Croydon Village Outlet last week and will now close entirely.
Monique Rebeiro, co-owner, said: "They have now recently paid us, but we went unpaid long enough for us to think, This is ridiculous and we can't do this any longer.'
Marco Cash (top) outside the former Allders department store and Croydon Village Outlet in busier times
"We gave our three months notice in December. There's no people in the store, a lack of sales. It wasn't benefiting us at all. I was paying wages for no return, so what's the point? There is only so much you can take."
She added: "It was quite good to begin with but obviously there is no cash flow because there are no customers in there.
"The disappointment is how they have handled some of the Croydon staff, young people especially.
"There are a lot of distressed young people running around thinking it's their fault they've lost their job when obviously it isn't."
Monique Ribeiro and Margaret Chatelier reopened Hatz in Croydon Village Outlet after the closure of Allders left the business homeless
Mr Cash did not respond to requests for comment.
Property giants Westfield and Hammerson last year said Croydon Village Outlet would have no place in their £1bn town centre redevelopment, but a defiant Mr Cash insisted the store would be an "established force pulling millions of people into the town" by the time work begins.
Hundreds of people turned up to see the store open in September.
But the opening descended into chaos when the store was forced to close just two hours later after its tills broke.
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