NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Increasing competition in an “almost saturated” liquor market may have also been a factor in Commonwealth Brewery Ltd.’s decision to terminate 73 employees in a restructuring exercise yesterday.
Speaking with Eyewitness Business yesterday, one industry insider said the industry was not as concentrated as it once was and that careful management in this environment was absolutely necessary for survival.
“Yes, operation costs have gone up, but that’s not all we are seeing,” the retailer, who declined to be named, added. “In the last four to five years, we’ve seen competition increase to a very high level. So now the market is saturated with not only independent liquor stores but independent wholesalers as well.
“It’s a good thing for the country in terms of having a competitive business environment, but it has led to this unfortunate situation, especially with the job market being what it is at this point and time.”
The comments came just hours after CBL reported that it would be slashing 53 jobs in Nassau and 20 in Grand Bahama.
Director of Retail Ron Hepburn said the decision was not made lightly and that the company intended to follow all the laws regarding the due severance pay for the affected former workers on the company.
He added that the company made a methodical streamlining decision to make roles redundant while creating new roles. This way, he said, the impacted employees could be in a place to apply for the newly created positions. Hepburn said it was a necessary move to make to ensure success in a “dynamic” business environment.
News of the restructuring follows complaints by competitors in the liquor retail/wholesale industry that in recent years CBL had monopolistic practices with its popular 700 Wines and Spirits brand.
It’s unclear at this point how this restructuring will affect those smaller retailers that regularly buy products from the bigger chain.