Creditors furious as Dress Circle reopens under a different name

Creditors owed thousands of pounds after London theatre shop Dress Circle went into liquidation have expressed anger that the store has begun operating again under a new name.

CD suppliers, former employees and performers who sold their own self-produced albums through the store are among those believed to be owed money from the original incarnation of the shop, which closed in August.

They have hit out at the store’s reopening under the amended name of Dress Circle of London when money is still owed from its previous set-up.

Richard Tay of Sepia Records, which supplied CDs to the store before its closure, said he is owed money dating back to February this year. He said: “I am cross. Anyone in my shoes would be. You supply stock, try and be nice and helpful and will them to succeed, and then they do this to you.”

Tay added: “A lot of people will feel very peeved, as when the news broke that they were about to go under they had a lot of goodwill from people.”

Silver Sounds Limited – trading as Dress Circle – announced it was going into liquidation in August, blaming rising costs of rent at its central London location and competition from internet download stores.

In a statement of affairs seen by The Stage, the company is shown to have had debts of £285,999, with creditors, excluding staff, owed a total of more than £200,000.

Despite these debts, Dress Circle this week reopened in the West End, with an organisation called Dress Circle of London Ltd – established in 2010, according to Companies House – running the shop under the new name.

Employees of Dress Circle prior to its closure in August are believed to be behind the running of the new outlet, described as a “pop-up shop” that will remain in London for a maximum of six months.

Murray Allan, who ran Silver Sounds, was listed as a director of Dress Circle of London Ltd from April until July this year.

A spokeman for one supplier owed thousands of pounds, who did not want to be named, said the situation had been “mishandled”.

He also questioned why the company name was valued at only £500 when it was sold off by liquidators, claiming its sale could have raised more money for creditors.

The spokesman also revealed that the stock supplier had recently been invoiced by the new company, Dress Circle of London, for advertising it had placed on the website when the theatre shop was operated by Silver Sounds.

“We told them it was appalling they had not invoiced us from the original company, as the advertising revenue would be considered an asset that should be going to the creditors,” he said. “Instead, they invoiced under the new company name, with which we have no agreement.”

He added: “We shall not be paying the new company anything while they owe us and so many other people so much money through the old one.”

Speaking to The Stage, Allan said he did not have “any thoughts” on the situation as he had “nothing to do with the old company or the new company”. However, The Stage was referred to Allan when it rang Dress Circle of London.

Allan later admitted he was employed by the new company to do occasional jobs such as data research. But he added: “It’s not my position to [comment]. As far as I understand it, the new company has bought from the liquidators the assets, and that has all been done quite legally and above board.”

Allan added that the new lease for Dress Circle of London was in his name, and that he had allowed Dress Circle of London to “occupy the premises”.

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