(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – Sri Lanka’s premier State-owned retail chain Lanka Sathosa toasted the achievement of its historic and overnight network expansion on 9 April.
It thereafter went ahead to unveil another first in Sri Lanka’s FMCG history on the same day – the distribution of hampers full of household goodies at drastically reduced prices, thereby bringing relief to one million households in the New Year season and cleverly ensuring the cash registers of the retail chain rang unhindered throughout the season.
“The President’s instructions to us are clear – give relief to the people through Lanka Sathosa immediately in the demanding New Year season – and we are fulfilling it,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.
Minister Bathiudeen, who returned to Colombo from Akkaraipattu only an hour before, was speaking to the media on the evening of 9 April at the Borella Lanka Sathosa outlet where he was joined by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.
He was speaking after the launch of the distribution of Sri Lanka’s first ever bargain New Year promotional goodies hamper, created on the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena. One million bargain hampers with many household items, at drastically reduced prices, will be distributed until 20 April at all Lanka Sathosa outlets upon the presentation of a NID.
“With the launch of the new Lanka Sathosa outlet in Akkaraipattu by me this morning, we completed the rapid expansion of 50 Lanka Sathosa outlets as instructed by His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena when he inaugurated the Kohuwela Lanka Sathosa branch on 28 March. His vision was that during the Sinhala Hindu New Year season the general public should not face any shortages and we should strengthen the State-owned Lanka Sathosa network immediately before the start of the season so that our consumers will not fall victim to unscrupulous traders,” said Minister Bathiudeen.
“After the launch of new Kohuwela branch on 28 March, we continued and added another 49 fully-equipped outlets across the country in just 11 days. I am pleased to say that as of today we achieved the President’s rapid target and now our Lanka Sathosa network strength across the island stands at a total of 377 outlets. Our overall target is 500 total Lanka Sathosa stores across the country by the end of this year, after which we will not be adding any new sales outlets,” he added.
“As we celebrate the achievement of our pioneering expansion within a short time, we are today launching the distribution of one million hampers full of household items at drastically reduced rates here at Borella Lanka Sathosa. This is also done to bring relief to people during the coming New Year season. A bag of these FMCG items are valued at Rs. 1,500 but we charge Rs. 975 from each consumer. They only have to produce their NID card and avail themselves of this promotion. We also cancelled most of the leave of Lanka Sathosa managers and sales staff during the coming days and all outlets will be kept open from early morning till night.
“In addition to this hamper, the public can also purchase other essential items at the lowest prices in the market from 377 Lanka Sathosa outlets. We are happy to ensure that there will be no shortages for our consumers during this New Year season. We even visited the Pettah wholesale market to ensure there would be no shortages in the coming season.”
On the morning of 7 April, both ministers Bathiudeen and Karunanayake stepped out of their ministerial offices and made a surprise price inspection of the Pettah market in Colombo, which is considered to be Sri Lanka’s wholesale epicentre. As for Lanka Sathosa, market studies on Sri Lankan supermarkets reveal Lanka Sathosa is used by 60% of the country’s population consisting of households whose income is Rs. 30,000 and below.