What results of listed retail companies tell us about consumer spending in Zimbabwe


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Innscor: More protein, more rice, and a hunt for bargains

Numbers from Innscor, whose businesses are in everything from maize meal to milk, are a good indicator of retail trends.

Natfoods is the country’s biggest maize meal producer. Maize meal sales fell 23% in the six months to December, but groceries were strong. Sales of maize meal fell because government stopped the maize meal subsidy programme, while there was increased competition from South African imports.

But sales in Natfoods groceries rose by 98%. Even sales of snacks went up 57%. Colcom volumes rose 31%.

The bakery division recorded a 26% increase in loaf volumes against the comparative period.

But, there is caution: “Notwithstanding the improvements recorded, volumes are still considerably lower than historical normal levels.”

Probrands shows the continued rise of demand for rice. The company, which sells a wide variety of grocery items, recorded a 43% rise in volumes. Much of this was driven by rice. Revealing what hard-pressed customers are going for, Probrands sales were also driven by demand for down-packed products, those cheaper products sold in smaller packs.

Delta: Who’s buying the rounds? Miners and builders

Delta Beverages, the country’s biggest brewer, says Zimbabweans drank 48% more lager beer over the quarter covering the festive period. More importantly, Delta’s trade update told us who is doing the most spending amid the hardship; it is the guys in the mining and construction sectors.

“Consumer disposable incomes remain constrained due to restricted economic activity under COVID-19 conditions. There were positives from the payment of year-end bonuses, increased mining activity and infrastructure projects that are injecting liquidity into the market,” Delta reports.

Afdis: Praying in the spirit for farmers

Afdis, Zimbabwe’s biggest maker and distributor of spirits, wines and ciders, says sales volumes grew 39% in the six months to December. The company is also hoping the harvests bring more money.

Says Afdis: “The anticipated good agricultural season is expected to benefit the economy by increasing the disposable incomes and improved food supplies resulting in net savings on the food import bill.”

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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