Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Improving City Markets
Last week, it was revealed that BSL Holdings Limited, the company that operates the City Market stores, had entered into a memorandum of understanding with Associated Grocers of The Bahamas Limited (AGBL) for the sale of its 77.762 percent of shares.
The sale, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close on or before November 5, the company has said.
The remaining 22.238 percent of shares in the stores are owned by the Bahamian public and their ownership under the transaction is reportedly unaffected.
Turnquest told The Freeport News on Friday that he had been disheartened to see the struggles the company was going through, and almost expected that a sale would be imminent.
"I think we are all aware that City Markets has had some difficulties. If we observe what's happening in the stores – the level of goods that they seem to have available – they seem to have been going through some difficult stages," he said.
"So I'm not surprised that they're seeking to restructure their organization and I think that any entity that may come in that can enhance their brand certainly is welcome news because City Markets has been around for many years and we've come to rely on them to provide services."
Turnquest said although details of the sale have not yet been made public, it is his opinion that any effort to consolidate and to improve the offerings that City Markets has will be welcome.
Also weighing in on the topic this weekend was Member of Parliament for Fox Hill Fred Mitchell, who has expressed concerns in the past about the company's operations.
In a statement released to the media, Mitchell said he is not too concerned about which entity buys the company at this stage, as long as the transaction is a legal one, but said there must be full and frank disclosure as to who the persons behind the company making the purchase are.
Mitchell said he believes the important issues surrounding the sale will be whether any jobs will be lost in the process and whether the enterprise will "return to the kind of company that supplies quality merchandise at affordable prices with an adequate supply chain.
"The business model that was utilized by the former owners did not deliver any of the security that Bahamians had come to expect from this company," the statement reads.
"I visited the stores today and the shelves were bare, the employees indifferent. This did not seem a happy place. Let us hope that this now changes."