25 April - 1 May 2001

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Another supermarket falls victim to bankruptcy
- Price Club’s debts small compared to turnover, sources say
- chain has no intention of closing outlets

In the latest wave of misfortune to hit the supermarket sector, Savemart in San Gwann was closed down yesterday. The store has reportedly gone bankrupt and had its doors closed for business yesterday by court marshals, a move that had taken employees completely unawares, who had reportedly been taking turns at cashing their paycheques from the store’s tills in order to avoid the banks.
The closure follows hot on the heels of the highly publicised closure of Supermaster in Mriehel, which had prompted employees to stage a sit-in protest for their paycheques.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that recent media reports have claimed that the Price Club supermarket chain, Malta’s largest, is also in serious financial difficulty, sources high up in the chain’s management yesterday refuted speculation that it might shut down certain outlets.
Sources told The Business Times, “An approximate Lm4 million debt looks awesome to some. But it isn’t when one views the capacity of the business." They added that more than 80 per cent of Malta’s business community face similar problems.
Sources add that the chain, with an annual turnover in the vicinity of Lm24 million is here to stay and that the recent closure of Supermaster had added fuel to the fire of speculation surrounding the chain of late.
Speculation had surfaced Friday evening when news emerged that an urgent creditor’s meeting had taken place and that the chain was to offer creditors equity shares in a potential Malta Stock Exchange equity listing in return for debt cancellation.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt