Hit by COVID-19 and travel bans, Chennai’s seven-decade-old luggage chain Witco shuts down

Witco's managing director said it is unlikely that travel would go back to the model and scale that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic

FP Trending June 04, 2021 18:49:51 IST
Hit by COVID-19 and travel bans, Chennai’s seven-decade-old luggage chain Witco shuts down

File image of a Witco store.

After seven decades of its launch, luggage chain Witco has shut down its business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the state of Tamil Nadu, it had stores in Chennai, Trichy and Kozhikode.

In a message posted on its website, the company informed its customers that the business has closed. Stating that the decision to shut down their business was not easy, Witco said it was not sustainable due to the ban on international travel and the pandemic.

History, significance and other details about Witco

Witco was started in 1951 by MPC Mohamed as a partnership firm, with the first store of Witco or West India Plastic Trading Co being opened at North Chennai’s George Town. From a single 500-square-feet store, the company expanded its operations and opened stores in other states as well.

Witco had started its operation in travel goods, plasticware, accessories and later also started dealing in bags. The client list of Witco included brands like Nike, American Tourister, Puma, Wildcraft, Fiorelli, Blues & Blues, and Case Logic.

The company was significant particularly in Chennai where it occupied a 60 percent share in the premium luggage market. It was a reliable brand for those travelling abroad as the Founder of Avtar Career Creators Dr Saundarya Rajesh said that many people from Chennai used to visit Witco stores after receiving H1B visas.

Witco’s Managing Director VP Harris said that they do not have the money to keep the business afloat. Harris also said it is unlikely that travel would go back to the model and scale that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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