The rise and fall of Croydon's historic department store Allders
Allders has led a troubled life during the 21st Century but during its heyday the department store was one of the biggest of its kind in the UK.
Founded in 1862 by Joshua Allder in Croydon the company remained with the family until the 1920s when it came under the ownership of United Drapery Stores, who decided to retain the name.
UDS enjoyed huge post war success but in the 70’s the recession saw the company’s fortunes dwindle, staved off as the company moved in duty-free trade, opening a store at Heathrow Airport, Allders International.
While Allders International proved successful, the rest of the UDS empire struggled and in 1983 was purchased by Hanson Trust which broke up the retail empire, leaving just six Allders Department stores.
Led by Harvey Lipsith, Hanson's finance director, Allders at Home is launched in the 90s and when the company is floated on the London Stock Exchange, it declares revenues of nearly £511m in 1999.
In August 2000, Allders made a deal with real estate and building group Minerva to sell its flagship Croydon store and lease a new, larger store in the planned new centre Park Place.
The sale netted Allders some £50 million, a portion of which the company spent, buying up four department stores from the C & A store chain and at its height operated 45 department stores and about 3m sq ft of retail space.
Attempts to buy Bentalls’ eight stores in 2001 failed and trend of poor performance began.
In 2003 a consortium led by Minerva bought Allders for more than £150m, but losses continue to be recorded and in 2005 administrators are called in with all but the Croydon store sold on.
Harold Tillman buys the Croydon name in May 2005 and sets about restructuring the brand.
Despite an attempt to restructure ownership of the company at the start of the year chief executive Andrew Mackenzie calls in administrators on June 15.
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