Catwalk clothing stores have all closed down some 16 years after the company hit the market with low cost bargain apparel.
The company closed its last shop in Trincity Mall yesterday amid rumours of bankruptcy and poor sales, leaving dozens of workers jobless. The company's eight stores have been quietly closing its doors for about a month.
The closure came suddenly for the employees, some of whom told the Express yesterday that they feel hurt by the management's abrupt termination of their livelihoods.
"We had heard some rumours but nobody in charge was telling us anything. Then on Saturday (February 23) at the end of the day the area manager just came and told us that they were closing and we could come today to collect our final pay for February," one former employee of Catwalk's Frederick Street outlet, who wished to remain unnamed, said.
The store's manager, who also wanted to remain unnamed, said she was not at all aware of the decision to close the store.
"I feel hurt and disappointed because I liked working here — and had been for 11 years," she said.
The Trincity manager said she and her staff were only four days ago informed of the decision by management to close the store.
There were eight people employed at the Frederick Street store; eight at Trincity, and with eight locations nationwide, approximately 64 store clerks are now jobless — most of them young women.
The employees also have not received any severance pay or proposals for new employment from the company.
One senior manager, who also did not want to be named, said the locations will now be appropriated by other clothing retailers and she, on her own, has been in talks with these new proprietors to absorb some of the old staff — a suggestion that has had some success. She added that she was just as unaware as her subordinate staff of the reasons for the closure.
The Express attempted to contact Catwalk's owner, Najib Ali, for the reason for the company's sudden closure, but his mobile was switched off. His daughter-in-law, Shaida Ali, who is also part of the company, did answer, but refused to answer questions, saying: "No comment, I have no authorisation to talk about that. I cannot tell you anything," and then hung up.
Catwalk and Westport clothing stores have a business relationship and staff there are also concerned about their future.