ZIMBABWE – OK Zimbabwe, the country’s largest retailer, has reported 196% increase in net earnings to US$8.59 million in the year ended March 31, 2019 from US$2.90million posted last year.

The retailer’s revenues grew by 37.6% US$139.94 million (RTGS$801,9 million) despite the firm highlighting supply challenges attributed to the harsh operating environment.

Commenting on the results, Herbert Nkala, the company’s chairman said; “While the first half of the year was relatively stable, the operating environment became more challenging in the second half of the financial year.

“The fiscal and monetary policy pronouncements in October 2018 affected confidence in the market among holders of ZWL balances and bond notes and triggered panic buying of goods to retain value as well as to provide against expected shortages.

“Shortages of foreign currency constrained replenishment and led to high prices of products.”

OK Zimbabwe’s chief executive, Alex Siyavora, noted that the group however managed to open two new stores OK Glenview and OK Mart in Masvingo in August and December 2018, respectively.

Additionally, Nkala said the group operated free of debt as internally-generated funds were adequate for working capital and capital expenditure requirements.

Capital expenditure for the period was RTGS$25.8m up from RTGS$15.5m recorded in the comparative year as the group continued with its refurbishment exercise to improve existing facilities as well as expand its footprint.

“The refurbishment programme continued during the year, with OK Marondera, Bon Marche Chisipite, Bon Marche Borrowdale and OK Mart Harare being refurbished.

The emphasis was to increase capacity and facilities and improve customer experience,” Nkala said

He said going forward, the group would continue to focus on growing market share profitably.

“Product supply remains a challenge and strategic linkages with suppliers will be key to ensure the stores are reasonably stocked.

“Despite the economic challenges in the country, the group will continue to focus on growing market share profitably through continuously enhancing the customer value proposition,” he said.

“Refurbishment work will be carried out on a number of stores and new stores will be opened as strategic sites are identified where the group is presently inadequately represented,” he said.

Nkala said the overall group performance improved in both sales growth and profitability compared to the year prior.

The group currently has 49 Ok stores, eight Bon Marche Stores and seven Ok Mart branches around the country.