Harold Tillman-backed department store Allders has collapsed into administration following “a marked downturn in sales”.
The famous department store, the third biggest in the UK, today appointed Duff & Phelps as administrator, blaming a sales decline on “the well-publicised economic difficulties facing the UK”. 300 jobs have been put on the line.
On Tuesday it was revealed that Allders was “four to five days” away from calling in the administrators as it desperately tried to renegotiate its rents with its landlord Minerva.
Allders requested for a rent-free period and asked Croydon Council for a business rates holiday.
It is the second Tillman-backed business to hit the buffers this year after Aquascutum fell into administration in April. The same month he sold most of his stake in Jaeger to Better Capital.
Allders director Andrew Mackenzie said: “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. With the considerable support already given by Croydon Council and our landlord Minerva, I would hope that additional investment or a sale can be achieved.”
Allders remains open for business and the retailer said: “Concession partners are continuing to support the business during the administration. Outstanding customer orders continue to be fulfilled.”
Duff & Phelps’s Geoff Bouchier, Matthew Bond and Philip Duffy have been appointed joint administrators. They said they are “exploring all potential options to maximise the realisation for the company’s creditors including a sale of the business”.
The shop may play a large role in the redevelopment of Whitgift shopping centre in Croydon. Developer giants Hammerson and Westfield are in a battle to secure the rights to redevelop the scheme.
It was reported in January that MacKenzie had led a management buyout of the business, leaving former majority stakeholder Harold Tillman, who rescued the business - at that time a chain - from administration in 2005, with a 30% stake. However it remains unclear whether or not that deal took place.