THE man behind Croydon's newest department store has rubbished rumours the business is struggling and staff have not been paid. The Advertiser understands some Croydon Village Outlet (CVO) staff did not get paid at the end of October. When they were, earlier this month, some did not receive the full amount. Chief executive Marco Cash said the store, which directly employs more than 200 people, was doing "okay" and that the only wage issue was staff had, in fact, been paid too much. He explained: "As far as I'm concerned – as far as everyone is concerned – 100 per cent of staff have been paid. "Last month's wages were overpaid by £22,000. That's overpaid, not underpaid and it's categorical. The person who was dealing with the wages has left the company since then. It was an admin error. "So 100 per cent of the people who were supposed to have been paid, have been paid. "There's no outstanding wage issue at the present at all. I phoned the financial controller and he confirmed that." However, a well-placed source told the Advertiser: "The majority of staff weren't paid in October and when they were paid, it wasn't the full amount. "Subsequently they have been paid, but I don't know whether they will be capable of paying them this month." CVO has been through a difficult few months since it opened in the former Allders building in September. The store, self-styled as the 'Harrods of Croydon', endured a nightmare opening, closing after an hour due to a fault with the tills. It remained closed the following day. Shoppers have also complained about the absence of advertised designer brands. A number of the concessions, particularly in the food hall, have left. Mr Cash said he had "booted out" around 12 concessions because they weren't performing. "Under-performing concessions, in any department store, get booted out. It's called retail," he said. "That's exactly what department stores do. If you look around Harrods, Debenhams or House of Fraser, it's ever-changing. If [concessions] don't cut the mustard they are out. "It's in the contract. It's not as if someone can pack up and go. That cannot happen." Privately a number of business leaders expressed concerns about CVO's future during the Develop Croydon conference on Wednesday. Many had heard rumours the store was struggling and agreed that its closure, so soon after opening, would not be bad news for the town. When asked whether CVO was in trouble, Mr Cash said: "Of course [business] is good. We're coming into the busiest season. "If you read the financial press you will see that retail is down. It's not CVO, it's retail. "Things are going okay. Retail is very tough at the minute."
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