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Robinsons Singapore throws in the towel after 162 years




ROBINSONS Singapore, one of the oldest retailers in the Republic with more than a century in business, will close down for good following losses in recent years. But its last two stores at The Heeren and Raffles City Shopping Centre may remain open for a while more for final sales.

The Business Times (BT) on Thursday found that the department store operator had been put under a creditors’ voluntary winding-up.

Robinson & Co (Singapore) confirmed it in a statement on Friday. Its senior general manager, Danny Lim, said: “We regret this outcome today. Despite recent challenges in the industry, the Robinsons team continued to pursue the success of the brand. However, the changing consumer landscape makes it difficult for us to succeed over the long term and the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated our challenges.”

He added that it has been “an honour” for Robinsons to serve the Singapore market and that he was “grateful for the dedication of (the) team, and for the support shown by (its) customers over the years”

Robinsons employees have been informed by management and the provisional liquidators of this news. The company said that employees will be paid in line with the next payment cycle, “well in advance of the usual liquidation process timing which would usually take months”.

The exit puts an end to at least six years of losses that Robinsons has chalked up against declining revenues.

Financial records show that the company made a loss after tax from continuing operations of S$26.5 million in 2014. It sank further into the red up until 2018, when it recorded losses of S$54.4 million. The exception to this was in 2015, when it narrowed its losses to S$17.4 million.

Meanwhile, Robinsons’ topline shrunk. It generated S$153.8 million in revenue in 2018, down from the S$257.3 million it made in 2014.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Robinsons has shown signs of further strain with the closure of its 85,000 sq ft outlet at Jem shopping mall in May. At the time, it had similarly told BT that competition from the rapid increase in suburban malls had made having multiple, large-scale department stores in Singapore unsustainable “well before” the pandemic surfaced. Even so, “the challenges we are facing with the ongoing Covid-19 situation are extremely difficult and the uncertainty is very unsettling for all”, it added.

Robinsons said its stores in Malaysia, located at Shoppes at Four Seasons Place and The Gardens Mall, will also undergo a similar liquidation process concurrently.

Other department stores could find themselves in Robinsons’ shoes.

In August, Japanese department store operator Isetan Singapore recorded a net loss of S$317,000 for the quarter to June 30, compared with a net profit of S$1.6 million in the same period a year earlier. This was mainly due to a decline in sales as well as impairment losses on financial assets.

It had also warned that the retail environment remains “very challenging” and that a material recovery is not expected in 2020.

Robinson’s Singapore, set up over a century ago in 1858 by John Spicer, an immigrant from Australia and Philip Robinson, a former jail keeper in Singapore, in Commercial Square (now Raffles Place) as Spicer and Robinson, once one of Singapore’s largest retailers. It was apparently to Malayans what Harrods is to Londoners. Spicer left the business in 1859 when it became Robinson and Co.

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Wurth Lanka makes strategic appointments in pursuit of Vision 2025



Wurth Lanka (Pvt) Ltd – the leading German based automotive car care partner recently promoted two of its long two standing employees Suranga Kekulawalage and Tharindu Rajapaksha to lead its Automotive Division and Automotive New Business Unit respectively as it focuses on achieving the Wurth Vision 2025. Established in the year 2000, the Automotive division is Wurth Lanka’s first, largest and most profitable business unit recording the highest YoY growth.

“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary of being the No. 1 trusted partner for the automotive aftermarket sector, we take great pleasure in appointing Suranga and Tharindu to lead these two dynamic divisions of Wurth Lanka to achieve our ambitious Vision 2025 targets ” said Rohan Amirthiah-Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Wurth Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.

“A key factor of our success in the past 20 years is the trust and confidence that we placed in our leaders and their respective teams to take the company forward to achieve our goals. We are confident that these two leaders will lead Wurth to our Vision 2025 goals” he added.

Suranga Kekulawalage joined With Lanka 14 years ago in in 2006 as a Trainee Sales Representative and rapidly progressed in his career having been promoted as Sales Consultant in 2010, Area Sales Manager in 2013 and Area Sales Manager-Key Accounts & Special Projects in 2017. He won the SLIM NASCO Award for the “Best Territory Manager” in 2015. Suranga holds an MBA from Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK (ICBT Campus) and completed his M. Sc in Strategic Marketing from the Asia e-University in 2014. He holds the title of “Certified Professional Marketer” awarded by Asia Marketing Federation and Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM). He has also completed Wurth Group’s “Learn to Lead” programme for Young Managers.

Tharindu Rajapaksha has over 15 years of experience at Wurth Lanka and started his career in 2005 as a Sales Representative. He was promoted as a Sales Executive and thereafter as a Sales Consultant. He then progressed to a Sales Consultant, Area Sales Supervisor and Area Sales Manager. He has been responsible for product marketing for the past several years and has successfully launched many new product categories. A winner of the Wurth Silver and Gold pins for his dedication and performance, Tharindu has been a winner of the Wurth 110% Club for many years. He has also participated in many of Wurth’s International Training Programmes while completing Wurth’s Learn to Lead programme for Young Managers.



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Dipped Products’ share price surges



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The share price of Dipped Products in the CSE surged following the  world’s largest maker of latex gloves  shutting more than half of its factories after almost 2,500 employees tested positive for the coronavirus yesterday, market analysts said.

Malaysian based  “Top Glove” will close down 28 plants in phases as it seeks to control the outbreak, authorities said. Therefore, Dipped Products’ share price moved up by 5.4 percent or Rs. 16.90 at the end of yesterday’s trading, stock market analysts said. Its shares became the most sought after stocks among investors and its shares started trading at Rs. 314.10 and at the end of the trading it shot up to Rs. 331.

Amid those developments CSE activities were positive because two major listed companies have announced their annual dividend payment for their shareholders. Those companies were Kelani Tyres, which announced its interim dividend of Rs. 5 per share and Melstacorp’s  Rs. 2.50 per share. These two announcements  gave some impetus to the CSE yesterday, stock market analysts said.

At the end of the day both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 54.13 points and S and P SL20 by 18.88 points. The turnover stood at Rs. 2.5 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Lion Brewery, where 243,000 shares crossed for Rs. 127.7 million, its share price traded at Rs. 525, Dipped Products 289,000 shares crossed for Rs. 94 million, its share price traded at Rs. 330, JKH 400,000 shares crossed for Rs. 68.7 million, per share value being Rs. 146.80 and Distilleries 100 million shares crossed for Rs. 20 million; its share price trading at Rs. 20.

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Dialog Axiata’s Genie partners Eat Me Global to facilitate customers with secure e-payments



In light of the health and safety mandates given by government health authorities to minimise the public’s exposure to COVID-19, Genie, Sri Lanka’s first PCI-DSS-certified payment app, powered by Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, recently facilitated grocery and food delivery platform Eat Me Global with a seamless solution for quick and secure online payments.

Partnering over 150 restaurants and supermarkets, Eat Me Global enables customers to order their favourite food and produce online and have it delivered to their doorstep. On downloading the Eat Me Global app, Genie customers of the platform will be enabled with the option of using the Genie login to perform their payments while non-Genie customers can store their Credit/Debit Card on the Eat Me Global app which uses the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) certified Genie back-end for card storage. Once the card is stored customers can use the ‘One-Click-Pay’ option, which eliminates the need of entering card details for every purchase. Contactless delivery is then ensured once the successful payment is done. One-Click-Pay is an effective and secure alternative when transferring sensitive information, adding an extra level of security to credit and debit card payments and fast becoming a catalyst in fighting fraud whilst creating a seamless payment process.

Speaking on this integration, Group Chief Digital Services Officer of Dialog Axiata PLC, Renuka Fernando said “Genie is pleased to partner the one-stop supermarket hub, Eat Me Global. This partnership will facilitate customers with doorstep delivery of food and groceries whilst also enabling our partner merchants to adapt, change and thrive with cutting-edge tokenization technology in a new normal. Genie remains committed in supporting our partner merchants and customers alike with enhanced e-payment security and a convenient method for remote transactions and cashless payments – a catalyst for surviving and succeeding in the face of COVID-19”.

With reference to this partnership, Jude Kumar- CEO of Eat Me Global said “We want our customers to feel safe and have a seamless fast payment checkout when purchasing their groceries and food via our app, Genie has immensely helped enhance and simplify the payment experience with guaranteed safety”

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