Beer price increases trigger retrenchments

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

SOME beer selling outlets and night clubs in Bulawayo have started laying off workers following poor patronage as a result of the recent spate of beer price hikes.

Like most commodities, the price of clear beer has hit the roof in tandem with inflation and the exchange rate between the US dollar and the local currency officially introduced in February.

Beverage manufacturing giant, Delta Corporation over the weekend increased the prices of both clear and opaque beer by 20 percent and patrons have voted with their feet.

A survey carried out by in the country’s second largest city revealed that some bottle stores and nightclub owners have started retrenching workers as the new prices can nolonger sustain their businesses.

“Since the latest beer increases, our daily beer sales have drastically gone down. On this other day we sold only a crate of clear beer. Before this increment we used to sell more than 30 crates a day,” said a manager of a local hotel who refused to be named.

The manager said the hotel management, has been forced to lay off four bar ladies and waiters due of poor beer sales.

One of the owners of a bottle store located along Robert Mugabe Street, Jealous Ncube said if the situation continues unabated, he will be forced to close his outlet and retrench all his five workers.

“The situation is very dire. I am now making a loss from my business because my monthly beer sales can no longer sustain my rentals and wages. A lot of my clients have switched to opaque beer and spirits,” said Ncube.

Most bottle store and night club owners in the city are also in a similar situation. Most retailers in the city are now selling a quart of clear beer for anything between RTGS$8 and $10.

The price of the popular opaque brand has also gone up from $2 to $3.