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OK ZImbabwe Mass Retailer Posts Earnings Gains as Economy Recovers

  • Gibbs Dube

OK Zimbabwe Chairman David Lake said sales increased month-on-month through December but slowed down in the last quarter due to a strike by civil servants in early 2010 and generally tight cash liquidity

Zimbabwe’s second largest supermarket chain, OK Zimbabwe Limited, has announced a 153 percent rise in earnings per share in the fiscal year through March despite a lack of purchasing power among consumers constrained by low wages and high unemployment.

OK Zimbabwe Chairman David Lake said in the company's annual report that sales for the period climbed to US$257.4 million from US$187.5 million the previous fiscal year, a rise of 37 percent. The mass retailer posted net profits of US$4.3 million.

Lake said sales had increased month-on-month through December but slowed down in the last quarter due to a strike by civil servants in early 2010 and a general tightening of cash liquidity which had a negative effect on consumer demand and spending.

He said OK Zimbabwe results were affected by price reductions to match competition as well as refrigeration failures caused by the country's rotating power blackouts.

“It is anticipated that the current low disposable incomes resulting from low economic activity will increase as the economy grows and this will enhance opportunities for business growth,” Lake stated in the annual report.

Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera said the brisk growth in OK Zimbabwe sales indicated the battered Zimbabwean economy is slowly recovering.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association Director Roderick Fayayo said OK Zimbabwe should plow profits back into local communities.

“What is needed is for Ok Zimbabwe to team up with other firms and engage in community programs like catering for senior citizens and the poor,” Fayayo said.

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