Luggage retail chain Witco shuts business after 65 years due to Covid-19 curbs

Luggage and personal effects retail chain Witco has announced the closure of its business after 65 years of operation due to Covid-19 disruptions. While the company had announced the closure of its business via its Facebook page in April, the news only came to light this week.

As per the company, pandemic and subsequent restrictions on international travel made it difficult for the company to survive. “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. We would like to thank all of our customers and our esteemed clientele for their patronage over the last 70 years,” Witco’s statement on its website read.

The company’s major business spanned Chennai, Trichy, Kozhikode, Bengaluru and Kochi. At the peak of its business days, the company had grabbed a 60 per cent share in Chennai’s premium luggage market. Witco’s had started its operations in plasticware, travel goods and accessories from Chennai in the name of West India Plastic Trading Co in the 1950s.

The company later shifted its major focus on all kinds of bags, including travel bags, commuter bags, laptop bags, backpacks, handbags and school bags. All international brands like American Tourister, Case Logic, Nike, Puma, Fiorelli, Blues & Blues, and Wildcraft were among its clients. The company’s products were also sold on e-commerce giants like Myntra and Amazon.

The news regarding the shutting down of the Chennai-based luggage retail chain became one of the trending topics on social media, and many people reminisced about the iconic brand.

“My God! WITCO is closing down due to COVID-19, after 70 years! If you have grown up in Tamil Nadu, you’d remember this iconic brand! I recall buying quite a few things from WITCO while growing up in Trichy in the 80s,” said communication strategy consultant Karthik.

“What a long-standing brand. Several generations of travellers from Chennai had only one destination right after they got their H1B – #Witco. Wonder how many more enterprises are going to be devoured by the deadly Wuhan Virus,” said Dr Saundarya Rajesh.

“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!),” said a Twitter user.

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