The iconic luggage retailer of Chennai, Witco to shut its doors after 70 years in the business on account of losses occurred to the coronavirus pandemic. The extended lockdowns meant that international travel has reduced and thus the need to purchase luggage.
The store, on Mount Road (Anna Salai) has been known to be a must-stop destination for those travelling abroad and in need to buy a suitcase.
Witco was started in 1951 by MPC Mohamed and after his demise, his sons VP Nurdeen and VP Harris took over the business.
VP Harris has attributed the effects of demonetisation to be the main factor in the companies loses. The company was showing a 20% YoY growth until demonetisation in 2016. Since then the company has seen only negative growth. The implementation of GST did not help but only hindered growth for the company. The Covid-19 lockdown has driven the company to take this final step, since large corporations have stopped business travel and the company does not see any chance of revival. 70% of their business came from premium luggage sales for travel.
The company’s website reads the official statement as follows,
“We regret to inform you that we have closed down our business.
The decision to close down this business was not an easy one, but unfortunately due to COVID-19 and the restrictions on international travel it was not sustainable for us.
We would like to thank all of our customers and our esteemed clientele for their patronage over the last 70 years.
Many well-known figures in Chennai have come out on Twitter to express their sadness at the shuttering of this iconic company.