Retailers pin hopes on Diasporans

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AS Zimbabweans in the Diaspora trickle back home for the Christmas and New Year holidays, the retail sector hopes this would translate into growth in sales volumes.

According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR), the sector had suffered a significant drop in volumes in recent months on the back of inflationary pressures, which saw prices of basic commodities rise beyond the reach of many.

The rise in the cost of living has chewed consumer spending power thereby frustrating aggregate demand for goods and services.

In an interview CZR president, Mr Denford Mutashu, said retailers and wholesalers were anticipating a surge in business during the festive season as Zimbabweans living outside the country would likely inject more liquidity into the economy.

“There is going to be increased flow of Zimbabweans living outside for the festive season, which retailers and wholesalers anticipate to spur business,” he said.

“Although some have indicated willingness to take the opportunity to bring in basic commodities duty-free in line with the President’s directive to import restrictions duty on basic goods, there is still a prospect of good business.”

Recently retailers indicated their volumes had dropped by almost 40 percent due to price escalation and consumers’ declining spending power. Last month Government paid its workers annual bonuses while some private sector members have also joined in a move that is expected to further boost purchasing power.

Latest data released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency shows that an average Zimbabwean family required at least $3 160 in October this year to meet its basic needs for it not to be deemed poor, a 4.2 percent jump from $2 192 the previous month. The jump reflects a continued increase in the prices of goods and services, after the figure jumped from $1 827 in August.

Many workers still earn far below the new poverty datum line. Zimbabwe has a large proportion of the diaspora community with many believed to be resident in South Africa who largely support families at home. —

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