Island Luck CEO fires back at Super Value chief
Published: Jan 09, 2017
Island Luck CEO Sebas Bastian has fired back at Super Value owner Rupert Roberts for blaming web shops for “taking an average of 30 percent” of the supermarket chain’s revenue.
Bastian said yesterday that Roberts’ comments amounted to “bold face hypocrisy and disingenuousness”.
Roberts’ comments were carried in Tribune Business last week.
He told The Tribune: “I was very hopeful with the crowds that we had, but it turned out to be very disappointing.
“I spoke to the store managers and asked them what happened, because I know that we had the crowds and we had the inventory.
“What they said to me was that VAT is taking 7.5 percent from us, and they agreed on a figure, that gaming was taking an average of 30 percent from us. It’s devastating the economy. It’s taking the school fees, the BEC money and everything — everything out of the economy.”
But Bastian said he could not believe his eyes when he read Roberts’ comments.
“This is the same Rupert Roberts who attempted to enter the gaming industry through the acquisition of a web shop and using his supermarkets as distribution points before he was stopped in his tracks... after the approval had been revoked,” he said.
“Is one to assume that he wanted to take 30 percent from supermarkets like himself over the Christmas?”
Minister responsible for Gaming Obie Wilchcombe confirmed last May that he revoked the authorization – granted by the Gaming Board – for a web shop to establish a kiosk inside the Super Value food store located at Golden Gates.
Wilchcombe told members of Parliament that on learning of the decision, he stepped in as the minister responsible for gaming and rescinded the authorization.
Last week’s Tribune article stated that Roberts had previously agreed a deal with Bahama Dreams to place web shop kiosks in his stores.
The article stated that having an active web shop kiosk in Super Value’s stores would likely have driven more consumer traffic and more sales to the stores, attracted by the convenience of purchasing groceries and ‘numbers’ at the same time.
But Wilchcombe told The Nassau Guardian last year the approval that was granted by the Gaming Board “contradicts the position on proliferation".
Yesterday, Bastian indicated Island Luck won’t be giving Super Value any more business.
“Island Luck bought over $100,000 worth of gift certificates from Mr. Roberts’ Super Value over the Christmas season, which it easily could have purchased from other food suppliers,” he said.
“This will not happen again because of Mr. Roberts’ naked hypocrisy. Mr. Roberts needs to come clean when he wants to make public pronouncements and allegations that have no basis other than maybe his own personal greed.”
Bastian urged Roberts to “get it right” or abstain from making “unsubstantiated” statements.