White and Sons' Warwick store closes after no buyers found
White & Sons' Warwick supermarket will permanently close its doors after 88 years of business after no offers were made to buy the embattled company.
The majority of the store's 38 staff were let go yesterday, although a small number will continue working temporarily, to help wind up the store.
Meanwhile a petition filed to wind up White's sister companies, Hayward's Groceries and Whites Southside, could see them closed by the end of the month.
A total of 85 staff were employed between the three supermarkets.
Liquidators KPMG said in a statement released yesterday: “Further to the winding up order made by the Bermuda court on August 10, 2012, the joint provisional liquidators have reviewed the options available for the ongoing business of White & Sons Limited at 22 Middle Road, Warwick.
“As no offers have been received to acquire the business as a going concern, the store will be closed and stock realised on an orderly basis.
“Parties interested in the business or the stock should immediately contact the joint provisional liquidators.
“In light of the above, the joint provisional liquidators have made the difficult decision to make redundant the majority of the company's staff who worked at the Middle Road store.
“A small number of staff will be kept on for a limited period to assist with the disposal of stock.”
Meanwhile, staff members yesterday claimed their health insurance premium payments weren't up to date.
One staff member, who asked not to be named, said: “Everybody is livid. This business has been going on for months and months and we are fed up.
“These 85 people that work for this company have no health insurance, but it's taken out of our pay every single week. Social security is being taken out of our pay every week and not being submitted.
“A cashier had to pay out of pocket to see a doctor and to get her medication [on Monday] even though we all pay for health insurance.
“I have to get my medication this week, and I'm going to have to pay for it myself even though $100 is going to be taken out of my pay this week.”
He said that staff members had contacted White & Sons' human resources department.
“The response back is we have been cut off,” he said.
Another staff member said he also believed health insurance payments were in arrears, but was unaware if the same problems applied to social security payments.
Efforts to contact official representatives for White & Sons were unsuccessful by press time last night.
Customers had complained for months that the three stores were running out of items, including staples.
However in April the store's owners said that they were working hard to turn the situation around, and that management was trying to make sure the store was properly stocked.
Shipping and courier company International Bonded Couriers of Bermuda filed a petition last month to reclaim money White & Sons Ltd owed them.
That move was followed by 27 other creditors, including wholesale companies Pitt & Company Ltd and BGA Ltd.
Acting Chief Justice Charles-Etta Simmons signed an order to wind up the Warwick store on Friday.
Liquidators Charles Thresh and Michael Morrison of KPMG Advisory Ltd said they were assessing a variety of options for the store including “continuing to operate the business at 22 Middle Road, Warwick while a potential sale of the business is explored”.
According to an advertisement that appeared in yesterday's edition of this newspaper, the petitions to wind up Hayward's and Southside will be heard in Supreme Court on August 31.
Whites Warwick store will open today and tomorrow between 1pm and 8pm for a liquidation sale, with all stock including health and beauty items available at considerable discounts.
One staff member at White & Sons said he was sorry to see the store close, but acknowledged that the store had struggled in recent months.
“We have been feeling it. We've been getting vibes for six months,” he said. “Christmas was not a good Christmas for us.
“It's sad to see this happen. We have been lucky to have some good staff and a lot of loyal customers over the years. We're all sorry to see it go.”
Creditors, suppliers or potential purchasers are asked to contact Khalid Davis of KPMG on 294-2628 or email@example.com.
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