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National Properties Food City.

This will be the new name of the Marketing Corporation Supermarket when restructuring measures by the National Properties Limited (NPL) are complete.

With the cash-strapped and mismanaged state-owned supermarket owing the National Commercial Bank (NCB) several million dollars, the NPL is looking to salvage what’s left of the organisation.{{more}}

Board members of the National Properties disclosed this information to Searchlight on Wednesday evening, immediately after briefing Cabinet on the issue.

“We have decided to run it ourselves and make a few extra changes to increase revenue,” board member Desmond Morgan, Chairman Victor Hadley and National Properties Manager Harold Dougan disclosed to SEARCHLIGHT.

Despite protest action last week by severed workers and their Union, the Commercial Technical and Allied Workers Union (CTAWU), the NPL made it clear to Searchlight that they will continue with restructuring measures at the organisation.

“We have already invested significant sums into the marketing board. Nothing there was working, all the accounting and IT systems were down, and if we were to lease it, the rent would not have been able to cover the payments needed to service the debt so we could not use that option,” the National Properties board members said.

The board members explained that clean up measures, along with the termination of 34 of the 99 employees at the corporation were necessary to save the supermarket from plunging further into the red.

The re-branding of the supermarket is seen as necessary to regain the confidence of the public.

“We are going to change the culture of the organisation; people have to be more customer service oriented and the public would not have to worry, products would now be there consistently on the shelves,” they stated.

Included among the proposed changes are a beefing up of the security and “the hiring of three new key employees” to handle accounting, floor management and information technology. The NPL is hoping that these measures will ensure more revenue and better customer/staff relations at the supermarket.

According to the NPL they will be seeking regional consultants who are experts in the supermarket industry to assist with the restructuring.

“We are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the supermarket sector in St. Vincent; we intend to be a dominant player and a profitable entity. Once we provide a good service I think all the nationalistic persons would want to shop here,” the board members ended.