Sasa staff shocked by news of closure
Those interviewed say Sasa management has not been open with them
The news of cosmetic giant Sasa's decision to pull out of the Singapore market has taken its workers and customers here by surprise.
Shop staff interviewed yesterday said they learnt of the exit from social media and media reports published the previous evening.
They also said Sasa's management had not said anything about the closure to them, whether they are being retrenched or when the shops will pull down the shutters for good.
The Hong Kong cosmetics retailer said on Monday that it would shut down all 22 outlets in Singapore, a move that is likely to affect about 170 workers.
It said its decision was formed by its shops here recording losses for six years in a row despite its efforts to turn the business around.
A Sasa employee, who works at an outlet in north-east Singapore, said friends had alerted her to the news reports.
"I've been working at Sasa for close to four years. We are still conducting operations as per normal. I've not noticed a fall in business recently," she added.
Meanwhile, the Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers' Union (SMMWU) said yesterday it has contacted some of the staff who are general branch members of the union.
Its deputy secretary-general Elvin Lee said the union will offer help to all affected workers to find alternative jobs and give union members financial aid if needed.
Sasa is not unionised, but some of its workers are general branch members of the SMMWU.
Mr Lee also said some managers had been told that Sasa shops in Singapore will close by March 31 next year and workers will be given two weeks' salary for each year of service as retrenchment benefits.
A tripartite advisory on responsible retrenchment encourages companies to pay retrenchment benefits of between two weeks' and a month's salary for each year of service, depending on the company's financial position and the industry norm.
Customers like finance manager Liz Foo were taken aback by the news. The 28-year-old said: "I've been shopping at Sasa for a few years because it allows customers to test the products to ensure they suit our skin tone.
"Online shopping is not as fulfilling because cosmetics need to be tried and tested before buying."
Financial executive Serene Wan, 42, said Sasa's Japanese and Taiwanese products were what drew her to its outlets. "Sasa is like a household name, and its closing down is a surprise."
The Straits Times has contacted Sasa for comment.
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JOANNA SEOW