In July last year, Teo Heng KTV announced that it will be closing down half of its 14 outlets in Singapore due to COVID-19.
However, when Vulcan Post spoke to Teo Heng KTV last October, it said that it has reinstated and returned only two outlets — Katong and Sembawang — in August 2020.
Today, it has finally called it quits and will be closing all remaining outlets after over 30 years of operation. It was founded in 1989 by Jackson Teo, who started out selling karaoke sound systems at Katong Shopping Centre.
Teo Heng KTV has been struggling to survive since the government released the advisory in March last year for karaoke outlets and other entertainment venues to close as part of COVID-19 safety measures.
Jackson previously shared with Lianhe Wanbao that it expected to incur losses of $500,000 for a month-long closure. To date, Teo Heng KTV has been closed for 10 months.
S$1.5M Reserves Drained
In our previous interview with Teo Heng KTV’s director Jean Teo, she cited rental as their “biggest headache”.
Moreover, during their period of business closure, Teo Heng KTV’s 120-strong employees have been forcibly put out of work.
They were all paid full salaries for the first six months of closure, but their pay has since been reduced 50 per cent from last October onwards.
According to Jean, their workers have been very understanding about their financial situation.
In fact, it was their employees who suggested this pay cut. They understand that it is a difficult time for Teo Heng KTV and wanted to help alleviate their burden.
Thankfully, they were still raking in some money from their core business of selling sound systems, but sales have unfortunately dipped “at least 50 per cent” due to the pandemic.
Back then, Jean also shared that they had about S$1.5 million in reserves to keep them afloat.
If COVID-19 drags on, I don’t know if we can survive for another few months. Once our reserves are empty, it really means that we have to close everything.
– Jean Teo, director of Teo Heng KTV
Lost Their Chance To Pivot
Previously, Jackson told Shin Min Daily News that he plans to raise S$1 million and put up a last fight to overcome this crisis. With the remaining outlets, he hopes to recoup the losses when they reopen.
The plan never bore fruition as karaoke outlets still remain largely closed.
Fortunately, the authorities announced plans to roll out limited pilot programmes to help the nightlife industry reopen safely.
However, Teo Heng KTV decided not to apply for the reopening as the high costs involved — such as conducting swab tests for every customer — will further take a toll on their business.
Therefore, it planned to turn its existing outlets into working and studying spaces equipped with free Wi-Fi.
The plans have now come to naught as the reopening pilot programmes have been put on hold due to rising COVID-19 community cases.
This means they can no longer continue their plans to reopen. Without drawing any income, they cannot afford to pay off their rents.
While they have “good landlords” who are kind enough to not collect rent from them for the time being, she is aware that it is unfair for them so she has made the painful decision for Teo Heng KTV to close for good.
For now, Teo Heng KTV has to settle outstanding rental payment from August 2020 to February 2021 to the landlords, or risk being sued.
Featured Image Credit: Teo Heng KTV
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