Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
Meikles Limited a subsidiary of Barbours Stores is looking at achieving further growth this year following its return to profitability, a senior company official said.
The diversified group is busy refurbishing its three branches in the country and also re-branding four Meikles Stores that will increase chain of branches to seven.
Meikles Stores managing director Mr Phil Else yesterday told The Herald Business that efforts are underway to offer affordable products to the market.
“Barbours is profitable now and the brand has recorded significant growth and we believe we have the capacity to fulfil its potential.
“We currently have three Barbour’s stores across the country and four Meikles stores which we want to re-brand to Barbours,” said Mr Else.
“We refurbished two stores already to become new-look stores and we have plans to offer affordable prices compared to South African prices for us to be competitive.”
Mr Else said Barbours is still a departmental store and the brand has remained a flagship in town.
He said the next step is refurbishment of Mutare, Bulawayo and Masvingo branches.
“Our next step is Mutare and we plan to re-do Bulawayo and Masvingo branches later. The management team also has plans to introduce a furniture department in the Gweru,” said Mr Else.
He said a new branch is being mooted for the upmarket suburbs around Sam Levy’s village.
On Meikles Mega Market which is also a retail arm of Meikles Limited, Mr Else said they have so far opened eight shops including the recently opened Mbudzi branch.
He further pointed out that they are looking at opening new branches in Chitungwiza, Mutare and Bulawayo.
“We believe there is potential market in Bulawayo and it is prudent for us to tap into it,” said Mr Else.
He said the Mega Market brand has been recording significant growth year-on-year and there are plans to open 15 branches by end of this year
Mr Else said they also have plans to take Meikles Mega brand to the people this year.
The retail arm expects to contribute 15 percent to the group’s revenue after having consolidated its market presence through rolling out more outlets.
Despite funding constraints arising from issues relating to balances due from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which compromised the operations and restricted growth during the previous years, the segment expects substantial progress in the second quarter of the 2016 financial year.
With the expanded footprint and realigned overheads, the segment is expected to contribute immensely to the group by the third quarter of the 2016 financial year.
“The Meikles Mega segment continues to strengthen its market position by offering the lowest prices and more direct access to consumers.
“Subdued disposable income on the local market remains a challenge but the retail unit has managed to perform well.
“Substantial funding requirements has been put in place to make sure Meikles Mega Market becomes a great success in the highly competitive retail industry,” he added.