One of the country’s chain stores Peoples Trading Centre (PTC) Limited, a subsidiary of Press Corporation Limited (PCL), yesterday closed down 20 of its 85 shops nationwide whose performance was negatively impacting on the company’s profitability.
PTC chief executive officer Ken Mthunzi told a news conference at PTC headquarters in Blantyre on Monday that the move is strategic for business growth amid tough economic environment.
The development has left four districts of Neno, Nsanje, Chitipa and Likoma without PTC shops with 202 employees facing possible transfers.
Mthunzi said the decision has been arrived at following a thorough evaluation of its operations and business model.
He said: “The decision is part of the company’s overall strategic initiative of business consolidation and growth aimed at improving customer’s accessibility to the shops and increasing productivity while at the same time maintaining the company’s leadership position in the fast moving consumer goods industry.”
Mthunzi said some of these shops will be closed down while others will be relocated to more strategic and easily accessible areas, adding that the move will not cost jobs as all the employees will be transferred to other shops or given further training to work in the yet-to-be opened spar shops.
“No one is going to be retrenched during this process. What we have done is to issue letters of transfers to all our employees in the affected areas, some of whom have taken their leave and will proceed to their new work places straight from the leave.
“We will open shops that we believe will give easy access to customers in more strategic areas. Not only that, we need to give our customers services that we have never given before,” he said.
Mthunzi said currently, plans are underway to open four more shops which include two spar shops in Blantyre at Northgate Arcade and Kudya by mid this year.
On her part, PTC chief finance officer Rose Chitera said the company considers the profitability and logistics when closing shops, citing Mangochi where two PTC shops were just metres away from each other.
Shops which have since been closed include Chilomoni, Chileka, Magalasi and Dalton Road in Blantyre, Luchenza in Thyolo, Monkeybay and Mangochi Express in Mangochi, Malosa in Zomba, Ntcheu, Kamwendo in Mchinji, Namitete in Lilongwe, Nkhamenya and Kasungu Metro in Kasungu, Madisi in Dowa, Luwinga and Ekwendeni in Mzimba, Chintheche in Nkhatabay, Karonga Express in Karonga and Chitipa.