Loob to keep Chatime outlets in M’sia open

PETALING JAYA: Chatime master franchisee Loob Holding Sdn Bhd, which has lodged a police report against brand owner La Kaffa International Co Ltd, said on Saturday it is committed to keeping its 165 outlets in Malaysia open to secure the livelihood of some 1,000 workers.

The company said in a statement last Friday that CEO Bryan Loo lodged the report on Jan 16 over the unilateral termination of their master franchisee contractor through a letter from La Kaffa on Jan 5.

The dispute between the company and the franchisor came out following La Kaffa’s announcement earlier this month that it had terminated the franchise and would immediately take over all the 165 Chatime outlets in the country.

Of the outlets, over 100 are owned and operated by Loob, while the rest are run by other franchisees.

“Although our agreement with them still has 24 years to go, they unilaterally served us a termination letter on Jan 5. It also appears to us that, based on what was reported from the press conference of Jan 6, they already had the intention of taking back the franchise from early last year.

“In Malaysia, we have rule of law, and all businesses especially a regulated sector like franchising have to abide by the law besides professional ethics and norms of industry,” Loo said.

The company said Chatime Malaysia has been an outstanding success as its 165 outlets accounted for more than half of the turnover recorded by the franchisor’s reported 800 outlets worldwide.

“Chatime was already a household brand in Malaysia with the hard work and goodwill established by the Loob Holding team over the last six years,” it added.

Loo said the company will now leave it to the police and the authorities to investigate and take the necessary action.

“We reserve our right to continue our action as advised by our legal team. We are constantly engaging with all our sub-franchisees and they understand the situation. They will not be easily swayed by unfounded allegations as they are part of the team that has built up the brand all these years.

All 165 Chatime outlets in Malaysia are owned and operated by Loob, either through direct ownership, joint ventures or franchisees.