Home » Business » No Cheers for Zimbabwean Retailers

Tills are not ringing as fast as last year despite a civil service bonus payout last month as consumers cut back on spending.

A snap survey by businessdigest shows that retailers are not thrilled with the festive season.

Traditionally in the month of November, retailers see a surge in sales owing to improved disposable incomes in the form of 13th cheques to employees.

But with a general economic decline charecterised by liquidity challenges and company closures, firms are seen foregoing annual bonus payments this year as many companies struggle to survive.

More than 4 600 companies have closed shop since 2011, resulting in more than 55 400 people losing jobs.

According to statistics presented by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa last week, the tourism sector was the hardest hit with 2 142 companies closing during the three year period with 18 413 jobs lost as a result. In the manufacturing sector, 458 companies closed with 9 978 jobs lost during the same period.

The construction sector was not spared with 317 companies closing shop during that period resulting in the loss of 3 651 jobs while 368 companies in the agricultural sector closed down affecting 5 465 jobs.

Chinamasa attributed the company closures to a number of economic bottlenecks such as the liquidity crunch and obsolete equipment.

“The economy continues to be dragged down by liquidity shortages, antiquated plant and machinery, cheap imports and high cost of production,” he said.

“This situation has led to company closures.”

An employee at Texas butchery said the business was grappling with low revenues as customers spend less and less by the day.

“They used to buy meat which cost US$10 but now they buy for US$5 or less,” he said.

Even a promotion meant to boost sales has not helped much, the employee said.

He said last year the butchery used to sell meat worth US$5 000 a day and now sales have dwindled to US$2 000.

“People are struggling .There is insecurity and people save the little they have, they are no longer spending,” the butchery worker said.

“Competition is also now stiff. There are so many butcheries in the city. Some people are now buying meat directly from abattoirs because its cheaper.”

A worker at a clothing boutique said business was decreasing at an alarming rate.

“We used to cash in US$16 000 per day during the festive season but now sales are down. We are appealing to authorities to review the flea market operations in the capital because our sales are dropping drastically,” the worker said.

An employee at one of the prominent clothing retail shops said sales had tumbled 50% on a year-on-year basis to November.

“Compared to last year sales were down by 50%, meaning to say if I used to earn a US$1 I am now getting US$0,50. This time last year, the shop used to be full of customers,” he said.

Source : Zimbabwe Independent

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