By Alois Vinga
DIVERSIFIED listed group, Meikles Limited has seen revenue growing to ZW$613,1 billion on the back of plans to strengthen operations in the year ahead.
Presenting a trading update for the third quarter period ended November 30 2023, Meikles company secretary, Tabani Mpofu said the period saw revenues increasing.
“Group revenue for the quarter under review of ZWL 613, 1 billion was 128% above last year in inflation-adjusted terms. An increase of 762% to ZWL 562.2 billion. Inflation-adjusted group revenue for the nine months grew by 111% to ZW$ 1,7 trillion while in historical cost terms, group revenue increased by 701% to ZW$ 1.2 trillion.
“The profit margin remained at the same level as reported for the six months ended 31 August 2023,” he said.
During the period, the group’s liquidity remained strong despite the tightening of trading terms in the economy, which gave leverage in a harsh trading environment.
In the supermarkets segment, units sold and customer count increased by 5% and 2% respectively, for the quarter compared to last year. This reversed the decline trend experienced in the preceding two quarters.
The decline in units sold for the nine months eased to 6% from the 10% reported for the six months to 31 August 2023.
“The percentage of revenue received in foreign currency during the quarter and the nine months to date was below 20% despite an improvement from last year. This fell far short of the average of 80% per ZimStat’s consumer survey findings, primarily due to compliance with the in-store exchange rate policy.
“The in-store exchange rate policy remains an albatross on formal retail in attaining the dollarisation level reached by most businesses in the economy. This creates ongoing supply chain challenges as suppliers are invoicing in USD and prefer settlement in US$,” said Mpofu.
The hospitality sector saw room occupancy growing five percentage points to 42% for the quarter from 37% achieved last year. The average room rate, in US$ terms, was 13% above last year and, combined with the growth in room occupancy, resulted in a 29% growth in revenue per available room.
“The last quarter of the financial year commenced on a strong note, with the units sold by the supermarkets in December surpassing those sold the previous year. Our focus is on strengthening the Group operations’ capabilities to adapt to the evolving trading conditions,” Mpofu added.