BULAWAYO, March 23 (The Source) – Botswana-listed retail group Choppies says revenue for its Zimbabwe operations grew by 250 percent to BWP395 million ($39,85 million) in the half-year ended December 2014 after an aggressive expansion that has seen its units growing to 18 from 13 since 2013.
The group said it will add 12 more shops in the country by the end of the year, with long-term plans to set up 30 outlets in Harare alone as the group expands north from Bulawayo where most of its business has been concentrated.
In its interim financial results for the six months, Choppies said the revenue from Zimbabwe contributed 13 percent of the group’s total revenue of BWP3 billion ($302,67 million).
Gross profit for the period stood at BWP71 million ($7,16million), an increase of eight percent compared to the corresponding period with EBIDTA at BWP15 million ($1,5 million).
The Zimbabwe profit contributed 11 percent of the total group gross profit of BWP644 million ($64,97 million).
By comparison, OK Zimbabwe, which has 59 outlets recorded revenue of $232 million in the first half to September 30, with an EBIDTA $9,5 million.
TM’s EBIDTA for the full year to March 31, 2014 was at $11 million from a turnover of $334 million. The group has 53 outlets countrywide.
Choppies said margins were likely to improve in the country in the second half of the year due to in aggressive focus on the Harare market.
“Zimbabwe is significantly less penetrated by formal retail. Expansion will shift from Bulawayo, the hub to the north (and) over 30 sites have been identified in Harare alone,” the group said.
The group announced that it was also expanding its foot hold in other parts of Africa with plans to open outlets in Kenya and Tanzania.
The focus on Harare and other new markets is part of the group’s target to have more than 200 stores across six countries by December next year.
Its shareholders have also tabled plans to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange by the end of this year.
Choppies is Botswana’s largest retail chain with 72 stores and three distribution houses. It also has 31 stores and two distribution houses in South Africa.
It listed on the BSE in 2011 and its market capitalisation now stands at nearly $490 million.