A whopping 40000 local arts and crafts are now networked with Sri Lanka’s apex market facilitator that promotes the country’s historic arts and crafts legacy. This facilitator brand has also returned to profits in 2016 -after four years of continued losses.
“Laksala is gradually becoming a recognized Lankan brand among tourists visiting Sri Lanka. I am pleased to say that Laksala has almost 40000 product lines for sale now” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 11 August. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launch of Sri Lankan Big Brands at Laksala joined by Chairman of Laksala SMM Ismail, CEO of Laksala Ali Ahlam Nawaz and Secretary to Industry and Commerce Ministry Chinthana Lokuhetti. The showcased brands are Euro Asia (tea), Vijitha Yapa (books), MJF Teas, House of Cinnamon (Mohksha Limited), Eswaran Brothers Exports (tea), Maltras International (tea) and Link Natural Products (herbal).
“Laksala is becoming a well-known Sri Lankan brand here and abroad for highlighting local arts crafts and handicrafts. Laksala has become an important stop for tourists visiting Sri Lanka as well. Reports say that our tourism industry is employing around 345000 people but I believe it is more. The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report of 2017 by the World Economic Forum shows that Sri Lanka is ranked at 64th among 136 countries. Sri Lanka is above Romania Vietnam and the Philippines. This ranking also gives a score of 3.8 to Sri Lanka out of a total of 7” said Minister Bathiudeen and added: “Laksala is gradually becoming a recognized Lankan brand among tourists visiting Sri Lanka. The Global tourism website “Trip Advisor” gives a four star rating to Laksala. Most “Trip Advisor” reviews say Laksala is “Very Good and Excellent”. One reason Laksala is becoming popular is the big basket of products it has. Laksala has 7400 product lines that are of high sales. I am pleased to say that in 2016-2017 Laksala added 600 more new products to this “highly active” total. As a result the present highly active products have increased to 8000. When looking at all product lines both highly active and less active I am pleased to say that Laksala now has almost 40000 product lines for sale. Laksala was able to increase the total product lines as a result of getting more and more new suppliers. An important activity of Laksala is providing essential market linkages to Sri Lanka’s traditional craftsmen. I am pleased to say that Laksala’s registered supplier total that was at 6000 a few years ago has increased to 8760 this year. Laksala also has shown better financial performance. Laksala had a loss of Rs 21 million in 2015 but it returned to profits last year showing a profit of Rs four million. I am pleased to say that Laksala is returning to profits after four years of losses. I thank all the local big brands that are partnering with Laksala today for their interest towards Laksala to enhance their image and sales.”
According to Laksala performance records, Laksala’s total sales last year was Rs 788 million and in the first six months of 2017 another Rs 381 million sales were made. Laksala also continued to reduce its capital loans paying back Rs 60 million in capital loans in 2016-2017.
“In this initiative Laksala is joining hands with seven internationally recognized “truly Sri Lankan Big Brands” said CEO of Laksala Ali Ahlam Nawaz and added: “This is to showcase them to local and foreign customers visiting its stores so that more of them are attracted to its showrooms through the image of the selected Sri Lankan Big brands. This will also help to get tourists’ focus on the work of our suppliers and craftsmen”.
Last year Laksala paid Rs 294 million as Supplier payments and in the first six months of 2017 it was at Rs 160 million. Laksala’s settlement of payments for rural craft suppliers also increased by 32 percent last year. Laksala also won the Provincial Winner of 2016 Industrial Excellence Awards conducted by Sri Lanka Chamber of Small and Medium Industries.
Photo - Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen (second from left) Chairman of Laksala SMM Ismail (third from left), CEO of Laksala Ali Ahlam Nawaz (fourth from left) and Secretary to Industry and Commerce Ministry Chinthana Lokuhetti (far right) at Laksala Big Brand launch at Laksala showrooms Colombo 3 on 11 August.