Cement and beverage sales down by 50 percent

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By Alois Vinga

PLAYERS in the retail sector have reported that cement and beverages sales have gone down by 50 percent owing to the ongoing challenges linked to foreign currency shortages affecting the economy.

Briefing delegates at a retailers breakfast meeting this week, N. Richards Group managing director, Archie Dongo revealed that the two products which are part of sales drivers in the sector are not performing as expected.

“Cement and beverage sales have gone down almost 50 percent and such trends are diminishing the retail sector’s performance. Coupled with pricing challenges that make it illegal for formally registered businesses to charge in forex, our sector is likely to face serious challenges if concrete solutions are not put in place,” he said.

Dongo said that the current pricing challenges left the retail sector between a rock and a hard place because most suppliers were now charging their products in foreign currency yet the market was still resisting US dollar costing.

He said the situation favoured their informal competitors.

“By selling in forex illegal we end up avoiding all products that are pegged in United States dollars and this is creating a situation whereby shelves are running empty.

“Retail outlets survive on pushing volumes due to the nature of our country’s incomes and the prevailing situation makes it difficult to achieve that since the available products are inadequate,” he said.