Report on Hindi News Viewership

Covid takes its toll on 65-year-old iconic luggage brand

‘Not an easy decision’ says company as it shuts its business.

Mumbai: The pandemic has taken its deathly hold not just on people’s lives but also their livelihoods. Business organisations across different sectors are struggling to wade through the detrimental impact of Covid-19, and many others are facing closure. One such casualty has been the Chennai-based luggage retailer, Witco.

After running for nearly 65 years, the iconic luggage retail chain has announced its decision to shut shop after it could not recover from the severe downturn caused by the ongoing pandemic. “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,” the company wrote on its website.

The company’s mainstay was international travel which contributed a significant portion to revenue. "While domestic travel resumed to some level towards the end of last year, International travel did not pick up and this impacted our sales,” the company’s MD VP Harris told Moneycontrol.

The initial three months of the last financial year were a complete washout because of the lockdown, and the company could recover only 25-30 per cent of business after the economy reopened. “Given our rentals, employee salaries, and other expenses, we would have not been able to survive even if we had done 50 percent of our pre-Covid business,” he added.

According to Harris, Witco’s downward spiral began with demonetisation, announced by the government in November 2016, which worsened further, after GST impacted its sales. The pandemic and lockdown proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the retail chain. The brand also tried to take the e-commerce route to survive and registered on Amazon and Flipkart but that too did not yield returns, shared Harris.

Travel & tourism has been one of the worst affected sectors due to the pandemic. The market share for travel-related accessories and equipment has also taken a huge hit. While most sectors are still hopeful of recovery by the end of this financial year, the travel sector remains apprehensive and could take a long time to revive, according to industry experts. Consequently, the outlook for related segments such as luggage, too, remains grim.

The brand with a strong presence in Chennai also had stores in Trichy, Kozhikode, Bengaluru and Kochi. Witco offered not only travel bags, but also laptop bags, backpacks, school bags, as well as handbags, from renowned brands like Samsonite, Delsey, American Tourister, Nike, Puma, VIP, Skybags, Baggit, Hidesign, Wildcraft and more.

The sudden closure of the brand has left its decades-old customers dismayed. Several of them reminisced on social media, and shared childhood memories of shopping at the stores before starting the academic year of school and college or for their first trip abroad.

“This is super sad. Witco was that one stop that you always window shopped and ogled in Forum Mall. It was also the place where we bought the first two large samsonite boxes that every graduate student buys before he goes to the US (and that was 18 years ago!),” shared one of the customers.

Another tweeted, “This is terrible news. the 65-year-old brand shuts down. I fondly remember trips to Anna Nagar Witco ahead of school reopening to purchase school bags. One such backpack bought in 2002 is still in use.”

Latest Reads
Lowe Lintas unveils latest campaign ‘Be Your Best You’ with Rahul Bose & Ishaan Khatter

Mumbai: HP India on Monday announced the launch of its latest range of HP Spectre laptops with a multi-film campaign. Conceptualised by Lowe Lintas Delhi, the campaign aims to appeal to professionals, both young and experienced, enticing them with the laptops’ intelligent technology and new smart...

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
Checklist you should follow for buying a car

Are you planning to buy a new car? Purchasing a car is an exciting life event. However, if you have limited knowledge of cars, the car selection and buying process can be intimidating. There are many things to consider such as the car brand, model, interiors and exteriors, driving comfort,...

MAM Marketing Brands
Joy Mohanty joins Dentsu Creative India as chief creative officer

Mumbai: Dentsu Creative India has announced the appointment of Joy Mohanty as its chief creative officer. He will report to the company's group chief creative officer, Ajay Gahlaut. Joy will be instrumental in accelerating Dentsu Creative India’s growth trajectory in the North region. He will align...

MAM Marketing MAM
Music licensing platform launches '#HarGharCreator' campaign is looking to solve a billion-dollar problem faced by content creators and businesses every day, like discovering and licencing the right music for their videos. India’s 80 million+ creator community comprises vloggers, podcasters, gamers, filmmakers, live-streamers, and influencers...

MAM Marketing MAM
aha collaborates with Sprite for its new campaign featuring Keerthi Suresh

The leading regional OTT platform, aha has partnered with Sprite in a co-branded partnership that is the first of its kind in Telugu-speaking states. The partnership includes a campaign entitled "Friday Night is perfect with Sprite and aha-100 per cent Telugu Entertainment," featuring national...

MAM Marketing MAM
We have always aimed to not only grow the brand but also the e-cycle segment: Hero Cycles CMO Rachit Gupta

The unassuming bicycle has come a long way today from its humble antecedents in India. From being the go-to means of transport for the common man for decades, especially amongst the lower-income strata of society, it has seen a resurgence of sorts in recent years.

MAM Marketing MAM
MyGlamm steps aboard as make-up partner of ‘Bigg Boss season 16’

MyGlamm announced that it is joining hands with Bigg Boss as its official make-up partner. The reality show is set to return for a thrilling season 16 on Colors with the theme "Game badlega, kyunki Bigg Boss ab khud khelega."

MAM Marketing Brands
Melorra launches its festive campaign '#HarGharMelorra'

Mumbai: Melorra has launched its new ad campaign "#HarGharMelorra" to mark the beginning of festivities this season. It has already established itself as one of India’s finest every-day jewellery brands with a presence in over 26,000+ pin codes across India, the U.A.E., the U.S.A., the U.K., and...

MAM Marketing MAM
Avas Living onboards Virat Kohli as a brand ambassador

Mumbai: Avas Living has roped in the former captain of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli, as their brand ambassador and has also added him to their client roster. The brand has rolled out a digital campaign on Instagram featuring the Indian cricketer. Virat chose Avas Living as his preferred...

MAM Marketing Brands