Written by Pilirani Tambala
Malawi’s top chain store retailer Peoples Trading Limited is closing down 20 of its retail shops across the country in the wake of hard economic times and stiff competition, Zodiak has learnt.
Chief Executive Ken Mthuzi said in the commercial Blantyre that the closure is effective January 11.
“This exercise has been done following a thorough evaluation of the company’s operations and business model; it’s a plan to reposite selected shops in some parts of the country,” he said.
The 20 shops include four in Blantyre, two each in Mangochi, Kasungu and Mzimba and the only one in Chitipa, among others. All in all 14 districts will be affected, he said.
The exercise is expected to affect 202 employees who will be shifted to the remaining 65 shops out of the 85 that existed, according to Mthunzi, who said no employee will loose their job following the repositioning.
The company, he further said, plans to open new Peoples branded shops as well as Spar franchised branded shops by mid this year.
“The decision is part of the company’s overall strategic initiative of business consolidation and growth aimed at improving customer satisfaction and increasing productivity,” he explained.
Some of the shops he indicated were too close to each other while some were not making business profit for the company.
Other shops to be closed are in Chitipa, Ntcheu, Madisi in Dowa, Lutchenza in Thyolo, Chileka, Chilomoni, Magalsi and Dalton Road in Blantyre; Kamwendo in Mchinji, Muloza in Mulanje, Malosa in Zomba and Namitete in Lilongwe.
With this development, visibility of Peoples shops will now be in 24 of the country’s 28 districts. Nsanje, Chitipa, Neno and Likoma districts will no longer have Peoples shops.
Peoples Trading Limited is a subsidiary of Malawi’s largest conglomerate Press Corporation Limited.
Local retailers in Malawi are facing stiff competition especially from Indian, Chinese and South African owned businesses. Further, high two-digit inflation has significantly reduced the buying power among Malawians in the last decade and a half.