The state-owned Lanka Sathosa islandwide store chain will continue to remain with the public and shall not be divested, vowed Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, launching Sri Lanka’s International Consumer Rights Day in the Northern city of Vavuniya on March 15, stressing that Sathosa is “a public asset”.
“Today, I assure you that Lanka Sathosa under my ministry will not be privatised or will not be allowed to go into private hands. I consider this an asset of the people. In fact we will transform Sathosa to become an efficient public institution, delivering great customer service excellence to Lankan consumers in par with any private supermarket chain in the country,” Bathiudeen said.
Lanka Sathosa is the single largest state-owned fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) network in the country. The government plans to expand the 311 strong present Sathosa network to 500 outlets by 2016/’17. Sathosa records showed that the monthly losses of Rs.150 million incurred by Sathosa till recent times is now no more, with Lanka Sathosa financials beginning to show breakeven levels.
“When it comes to consumer welfare, FMCG companies are one of the closest retailers to consumers in any country. The Sri Lankan FMCG market does not seem to go above US $ 85 million per month, generally standing around US $ 80 million a month. In Sri Lanka, the highest monthly household cost is on food and beverages followed by personal care products, and household care products.
In fact 35 percent of monthly household expenditure of Sri Lanka is spent for food items. What is also important to note is that whether, it is ‘food and beverages’ or ‘personal care’ or ‘household care products’ if they are ‘branded FMCG’ they show higher sales.”
“Realising the importance of brands in the market such as branded FMCG, we recently launched the first-ever national consumer rights event ‘Consumer Rewards Week’ in Sri Lanka, which will end on 20 March,” said CAA Chairman Hasitha Thilakaratne and added: “60 leading brands are offering 8000 items on discount through 10000 sales outlets across the country in this first-ever CAA initiative.”