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Covid-19: Reduced operating hours chew into OK’s revenue

Reduction in business operating hours, which came into effect on March 30, when President Emmerson Mnangagwa put Zimbabwe on national lockdown as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, has chewed into retail giant, OK-Zimbabwe’s revenue.

Under the current lockdown measures businesses are allowed to operate between 08:00hrs and 15:00 hours.

Supermarkets such as OK, Pick n Pay, Spar and many others no longer have the luxury of operating until late in the night or for 24 hours as was the case before the advent of the pandemic, which has brought the whole world on a standstill.

In a latest trading update for the three months ended June 30, 2020, OK-Zimbabwe company secretary, Margaret Munyuru, said revenue for the quarter dropped compared to the same period last year.

“Revenue for the quarter was below prior year by 13% (inflation adjusted) and grew by 661% (historical) over the same period,” Munyuru said.

“Sales volumes for the quarter were 32.7% below the same period in the prior year. Profit margins are within expectations.”

Munyuru said the business environment, during the period under review, continued to be challenging due to instability in the market.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown measures limited trading hours and the movement of people,” she bemoaned.

“The reduction in operating hours disrupted production and supply to our stores as well as constrained activity in our stores.”

She added that currency depreciation resulted in frequent price increases in a situation of limited disposable incomes, leading to subdued demand.

“Generally, however, the stores were reasonably stocked since the lockdown started on 30th March 2020,” she said.

“Unfortunately, this year we could not run our biggest annual promotion, the OK Grand Challenge Jackpot Promotion, because of the disruption caused by Covid-19.”

Munyuru added: “The Covid-19 pandemic is expected to persist for most of 2020. However, the operations of the company are sound and it should continue to be a viable business.”

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