Jamaica Gleaner Online TODAY'S ISSUE
Feb 9, 2000

Progressive Grocers buys Shoppers Fair

SHOPPERS FAIR has sold the majority of its supermarkets to Progressive Grocers of Jamaica Limited, a consortium of major players in the local supermarket industry.

A release from the Mechala Group yesterday said that the consortium, whose principals are Sing Chin, Albert Lym, Arnold Chin, Ken Loshusan and Gladstone Loshusan, has acquired seven of the nine Shoppers Fair supermarkets in an agreement for the sale of assets. The seven stores are Portmore and Greater Portmore in St. Catherine, Harbour View and Duhaney Park in St. Andrew, Westgate and Blue Diamond in Montego Bay, and Mandeville.

Mr. Errol Powell, chairman of Universal Stores Limited, operators of Shoppers Fair, said that "this sale is a part of the process of rationalisation which the Mechala Group has been undergoing for the last year in an effort to streamline its operations". He explained that the supermarket business had become extremely competitive, and "to compete effectively would have required resources which we feel could be better utilised in other areas with growth potential in the Group".

The new owners, Progressive Grocers of Jamaica Ltd., who together already operate ten supermarkets, see the acquisition of the seven Shoppers Fair stores as the ideal opportunity for greater synergy and improved operating efficiencies within their businesses.

Under the terms and conditions of the sale, several existing employees will be offered re-employment by the new owners; and efforts will be made to place other employees elsewhere in the Mechala Group. Employees not re-assigned will be terminated with full redundancy and other benefit entitlements.

Mechala is in negotiations with two interested parties for the sale of the other two Shoppers Fair supermarkets in St. Jago and Santa Cruz.

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