Harare (New Ziana) – Retailer, OK Zimbabwe said on Thursday sales volumes for the first half of this year fell 23 percent compared to the same period last year on the back of price increases and affordability issues.
The retailer, with over 60 stores across the country, said the hike in prices was on the back of a sustained loss in value of the Zimbabwe dollar, which was introduced as the mono-currency during the period.
“The ZWL has depreciated markedly since its introduction and contributed significantly to price increases in the period under review,” OK Zimbabwe said in a trading update.
“The scarcity of foreign currency slowed down the importation of goods and this, combined with high prices of goods that were available, slowed down consumption particularly in the second half of the reporting period.”
“Resultantly, volume sales declined by 23 percent compared to the same period last year.”
At its introduction, the Zimbabwe dollar officially traded 2.5 to the United States dollar and has over the past four months slid to trade at 15.8 to the greenback.
OK Zimbabwe said the trading environment has “become more unstable” towards the end of the six months to September, 2019 but said it was adequately stocked for the upcoming festive season.
“While price increases have been frequent because of instability in the market, the company will continue in its efforts to deliver the best possible value to its customers,” it said.
Meanwhile, the retailer said its financial results for the period would be delayed but said, its board had on Wednesday declared an interim dividend of $0.04 per share.
OK Zimbabwe Limited trades under three brand names namely OK Stores, Bon Marche Stores, and OK Mart.
Its business covers categories comprising groceries, basic clothing, bakery, fruit and vegetables and textile products among others.