Chennai-based Witco, the 65-year-old legacy luggage retail chain, shut shop after it was unable to cope with business restrictions due to COVID-19. The restrictions on international travel made it more difficult for the company to stay afloat, the company’s statement said.
"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," Witco's statement read.
Witco was once the top retailer for premium luggage brand Samsonite in India. The brand closed its stores in January after sales were subdued after the first wave of COVID, and subsequent lockdown in the country.
The company registered major sales in Chennai, Trichy, Kozhikode, Bengaluru and Kochi. At one point, Witco had managed to capture 60 percent of Chennai’s premium luggage market. Besides luggage, Witco also sold school bags, handbags, and office bags.
Witco had started its operations in Chennai under the name of West India Trading Company in the 1950s and dealt in plasticware, travel goods and accessories.
The company’s decision to manufacture luggage was successful. It also sold international brands like American Tourister, Case Logic, Nike, Puma, Fiorelli, Blues & Blues, and Wildcraft, and had its products on Myntra and Amazon.
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing restrictions have brought economic hardships to millions across the world. As Witco closes down, many other Indian business owners have bleak future ahead of them, as was revealed in a recent FICCI survey.
(Edited by : Shoma)
First Published: IST