Lanka Sathosa linking with top corporates in business-boosting plan


By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Lanka Sathosa, which targets middle income consumers who account for almost 70 percent of the population, is planning to tie-up with top corporates and SME sector companies to increase its coverage while ensuring the availability of these companies' goods in Sathosa outlets.

"Every month we are looking at a tie up with a top corporate sector entity or an SME sector entity to launch their products at Lanka Sathosa outlets island wide in order to take Sathosa outlets to the next level, its chairman Dr Rohantha Athukorala told The Island Financial Review.

He said that in a landmark turnaround of Sathosa business, global household giant Unilever launched a new variant of Sunlight soap, Lemon-Rose, with a tie-up with Lanka Sathosa on January 1, in the presence of Minister for Industries and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen at the Ratmalana Lanka Sathosa mega outlet.

He said as per the third generation economic reform statement by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, "We are practising strong private- public partnerships by staring new business arrangements with top corporates and discerning SMEs in the country, so that we could turnaround the business at Lanka Sathosa within the next six months."

"We are targeting a turnover of Rs 35 billion in 2016 and aim to increase the number of outlets from the current 306 to 500 this year, he said.

"We want to stretch our brand to be the widest in range and become foremost in the shopping experience of the middle income housewife of Sri Lanka, Athukorala said.

"Currently our store equity rating is at 3.4, while trial to loyalty is at a high 67 percent, which is the opportunity the brand has and the private sector must cash in on that to reach the mass market of the country, he explained.

"The loss making Lanka Sathosa would be turned around in six months, Athukorale said.

He said that the institution is running losses in excess of Rs. 30 million monthly and this is due to bad planning and positioning. Therefore, under the new management it would be turned around to become the best super market chain in the country.

Within the next three months all Sathosa outlets will receive a facelift, with the basic infrastructure corrected in lighting, freezer facilities and retail staff, so that it can ensure that the total basket of goods for a housewife can be bought at a Lanka Sathosa outlet, Athukorale added.

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