Last-minute deal saves around 50 jobs at Allders mall in Croydon
AROUND 50 jobs have been saved after last-ditch negotiations secured the future of ten businesses in the Allders Mall.
The announcement that the Mall, which provides a link between George Street and North End, will remain open after the rest of Allders shuts tomorrow (Saturday) comes after protracted talks between traders, landlords Minerva, Allders' administrators Duff and Phelps, and the council which were concluded on Tuesday.
The agreement means the survival of the businesses, which will now pay rent directly to Minerva.
The decision is particularly good news for Coughlans bakery, which runs three separate premises in the Mall, and has now been able to tell 19 staff their jobs are no longer under threat.
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Virginia Coughlan, a director and company secretary at Coughlans, said: "We are absolutely thrilled. We have been in the Mall for 32 years and were the first concession in there.
"The administrators, Minerva, and the council have all been great in helping to keep the Mall open.
"Everyone has really pulled together and it is brilliant to be able to tell our staff their jobs are still there."
Neelofar Khan, who runs Chai Corner, also joined in the praise for everyone involved in the deal and agreed with Ms Coughlan that emphasis must be put on hard promotion of what was on offer, to ensure customers continued to use the Mall.
Ms Coughlan said: "We really need to ensure we can get the public behind us to prove that it is well worth keeping the Mall open."
Mrs Khan added: "There was a will from everyone to keep the Mall going.
"On the large scale it is all about numbers and figures but at the end of the day we are all human beings and I think the human element has come through on this."
Council leader Mike Fisher said: "We are all delighted with the outcome.
"There is no doubt that the closure of Allders is bad news, as it has been part of Croydon for so many years.
"It is great that we are able to keep a bit of it and save some jobs."
Mr Fisher added that it was hopefully "a first step" which could lead to further talks about what could be done to get some positive trading activity on Allders' ground floor.