Croydon Village Outlet 'likely to be sold this week'
Administrators running Croydon Village Outlet have said they are hopeful of finding a buyer to take the reins of the troubled department store this week.
The North End store, opened by Metro Outlet Ltd just seven months ago, will close if a buyer is not found after mounting debts and the threat of liquidation forced it into administration on Tuesday.
Debt collectors are chasing more than £1m owed to dozens of creditors, one of which had asked a court to liquidate the firm launched by flamboyant businessman Marco Cash last year.
Administrators who took over the store last week said they were in talks with "two or three" potential buyers and hoped to secure a deal in the next few days.
Andrew Andronikou, turnaround and recovery partner at accountants UHY Hacker Young, said: "We have got two or three parties that are looking at it and we are seeing what we can do. We are just trying to find the best deal for the creditors and the employees.
"We are hoping to have the thing sold this week. Under the circumstances - it is such a large white elephant - we don't want to be in there too long so we are trying to get it down as quickly as possible."
It is understood one prospective buyer is an associate of Mr Cash, who runs Croydon Village Outlet with business partner Chris Anthony and Joanne Morrison, Mr Anthony's girlfriend.
Mr Cash applied to the High Court for Metro Outlet Ltd to be put into administration days before Caernarfon County Court in Llandudno, Wales - where the business is registered - was due to hear a winding up petition submitted by Rectella, a Manchester-based furnishings firm owed thousands by Croydon Village Outlet.
A previous outlet store owned by Mr Cash, Mr Anthony and Miss Morrison in Gateshead shopping centre was dissolved in December following a winding-up petition from a creditor.
Administrators' takeover of Croydon Village Outlet came as further allegations emerged of mistreatment of staff, several of whom claim they were unfairly sacked for "gross misconduct".
Victoria Cox, who worked into the store's menswear department until being fired last month, said she lost her job after making mistakes despite receiving no training and having learning difficulties.
Shoppers on Croydon Village Outlet's opening day
The 30-year-old, of South Croydon, who has severe dyslexia, said: "I told them I needed help on the till because I'm dyslexic and they said I would get till training but I never did.
"I had no chance to defend or explain myself, they just said, 'no, you've got to go.' It is going to be hard for me to get another job with gross misconduct on my record."
Many current and former employees of the store, which remains open, are still owed wages that should have been paid last month.
Mr Anthony declined to comment while Mr Cash did not respond to multiple attempts from this newspaper to make contact with him.
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