2020 was undoubtedly a year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to the undeniable impact of the virus on individuals and society, it has also weighed heavily on many businesses.
Bans and secure distancing measures have resulted in a significant drop in customer traffic, which translates into lower profits.
Companies had to swivel quickly or risk getting out of business. Even so, factors such as rental and labor costs could still be an obstacle to business continuity plans.
As companies prepare for an even longer battle with Covid-19, the Singaporeans have already said goodbye to these six domestic and international chains:
Photo credit: The Edge Singapore
Robinsons was founded in 1858 and is one of the oldest department stores in Singapore. Although Covid-19 survived 162 years, it proved too much for the retail giant to deal with.
On Oct. 30, it was reported that it would be leaving Singapore for good after suffering losses in recent years.
According to a report in the Business Times, the store had posted losses for at least six years as sales fell.
Financial reports show the company posted losses of up to S $ 54.4 million in 2018.
The topline also shrank, generating sales of S $ 153.8 million in 2018 compared to S $ 257.3 million in 2014.
The brand's decision to close its stores has failed both customers and suppliers. Customers are unsure if orders will be fulfilled and suppliers fear that they may never receive their sales proceeds.
Some shipment suppliers have stated that they owe sales revenues generated in recent months.
On November 19, it was reported that Robinsons owed a total of 442 creditors at least S $ 31.7 million.
Among the 442 listed creditors are mattress manufacturers such as Simmons, Sealy, Serta and Tempur.
Also on the list are major apparel, fashion and beauty brands like adidas, Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Clarins, Chanel and LVMH.
Photo credit: Gardens by the Bay
Founded in 1998, Bakerzin describes itself as "one of Singapore's most popular artisanal dessert cafes".
On October 9, it was reported that the F&B company had closed all five stores across the island, marking its exit in Singapore.
Bakerzin has not made a statement regarding this closure on its Facebook page (the last post was dated September 30).
On the morning of October 5th, however, a creditors' meeting was announced for the purpose of liquidation.
In a 2017 interview with Vulcan Post, Bakerzin founder Daniel Tay shared that business was doing really well, with annual sales of between S $ 13 million and S $ 14 million.
However, rising rents resulted in a loss of profits and sales were no longer substantial enough to cover rents, leading to its closure, which could also be affected by Covid-19.
Photo credit: Singapore Service
In June of this year, the domestic sports retail chain Sportslink went into liquidation.
Sportslink started out as a single store – Sports Interlink in the Queensway Shopping Center.
It was founded in 1983 by the late Lim Kau Tee and only registered as a sports link four years later. Sports Link Pte Ltd (SLH) was later registered in 1994.
It began expanding its reach to suburban shopping malls in 1995 and grew rapidly in Singapore. At its peak in 2015, it had 35 stores across the island.
However, there were financial problems.
According to the liquidator, Sportslink owed its employees a number of creditors as well as a monthly salary. The total debts amounted to at least 3.4 million S $.
One of its creditors was Adidas Singapore, which was also its supplier.
On June 9, Adidas Singapore filed an application with the High Court to dissolve Sportslink. The latter had owed Adidas Singapore overdue liabilities of S $ 1.3 million since April 2018.
According to an affidavit from an Adidas Singapore director, Sportslink has partially repaid the debt and previously agreed to a repayment plan, but has not implemented it.
By November last year, Sportslink owed Adidas around S $ 991,000.
The largest creditor, however, was a Malaysian sports retailer for Brooks products, which was owed S $ 1.2 million.
4. Topshop and Topman
Photo credit: Retail News Asia
On September 11th, British fashion brands Topshop and Topman's brand manager Wing Tai Retail confirmed the closure of their Vivocity outlet.
The Vivocity outlet, the last in Singapore, was officially closed on September 17th.
At its peak, the brand owned ten brick and mortar stores in Singapore. Most of the stores were in large malls, including ION Orchard, Raffles City, and Vivocity.
In addition, Topshop Knightsbridge on Orchard Road was the brand's largest store outside of the US and UK.
Photo credit: retail detail
Hong Kong-based fashion retailer Esprit has closed all of its Asian stores outside of mainland China as it grapples with the effects of Covid-19.
As of June 30, 56 stores in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau have been closed. The deal was also done in China.
In Singapore, the fashion retailer had 11 stores, including ION Orchard, Paragon, Suntec City and Jewel Changi Airport.
According to InsideRetail Asia, Esprit's sales in Asia were down 48.7 percent in nine months and continued to decline to 61.3 percent from March 2020.
In the nine months, the 56 stores contributed approximately $ 34.4 million to Esprit Group's sales – less than four percent of total sales.
After the closings, Esprit plans to focus primarily on European markets. However, wholesale and licensing in Asia and a joint venture in China will continue.
6. STA Travel
Image Credit: Goody Feed
STA Travel, a company focused on providing package tours for students and youth, has closed for good.
STA Travel is well known to the local student population in Singapore with offices in NUS, SMU and NTU.
Many students would patronize these businesses to book discounted flights or access special offers for students when planning their studies abroad.
The travel agency is listed on Facebook with its last post on August 19 this year as "permanently closed".
STA Travel ceased operations after the parent company in Switzerland filed for bankruptcy in September.
The company's assets and liabilities as of September 10th showed that it owed S $ 439,000 to former employees.
In addition to the staff, The Straits Times stated that up to 682 customers listed as creditors owed a total of S $ 635,000.
Auditing firm Deloitte & Touche published a notice last week listing potential creditors on behalf of STA Travel.
According to this list, the largest sum of S $ 84,088 is said to be owed to an individual.
Further closings will follow
In addition to these large chains, many local companies have also ceased operations.
Retail store closings hit a 10-month high in September, according to a report by The Straits Times. 457 companies said they were going out of business.
It is said that after the relief, more closings can be expected to protect qualified commercial tenants who are unable to pay rent prior to eviction and interest rates will be increased. This ends today (November 19th).
Hence, it is important for business owners to quickly revolve around existing business strategies and improve them to make themselves relevant in the face of changing consumer behavior.
Selected image source: Coconuts.co / Daniel Food Diary / NUS office for campus equipment / clothing resources / Mashable