Duty Free Caribbean forced to scale back

Duty Free Caribbean Holdings, which operates over 70 stores in the region, including local department store, Cave Shepherd, has announced plans to revitalise its business.

CEO of the local office, Peter Allan, explained that over the past four years DFCH, like many other companies in the region, had suffered the effects of the global economic downturn, which has resulted in a decline in sales mainly in the duty-free operations.

He noted: “We have been working hand-in-hand with our staff, suppliers and landlords to control costs in order to protect our business for the long term and have made multiple operational adjustments to counteract the negative impact of the downturn and to keep the company in a strong liquidity position.

“However, with a weak economic outlook and an uncertain future, we recognise that we must accelerate our action plans, not simply to navigate through these troubled waters, but to revitalise the business in the process.”

The two-year revitalisation plan includes contracting space in some product areas while expanding in others. It also includes an expansion of the concessionairing programme that has been a revolutionary business feature at the main Cave Shepherd store on Broad Street for the past 20 plus years.

Allan added: “We will make a number of our categories/departments available to independent operators, thereby providing exciting opportunities for some. This will be a phased process and will result in an adjustment in staff levels in our retail and support departments but it will allow any interested members to create new concessionaires as has been done in the past. We will also be encouraging new partners coming into the business to retain existing staff members where possible.”

DFCH’s businesses, and specifically Cave Shepherd, has been in existence for over 100 years and over that period has survived many hurdles.

“At every turn we have faced the challenges head on and at times even transformed them into powerful opportunities for growth. Throughout these transformations, our leadership has endeavoured to protect the company’s greatest asset – its people, and despite these unprecedented times, DFCH will continue in this tradition,” Allan explained.

“As such, we give our commitment to keep our lines of communication open with our teams and work closely with the Barbados Workers Union as we move towards a more sustainable business model that will allow our company to continue the long tradition of serving the Barbadian public and visitors to our island.”

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