|Delta hits back at wholesalers, retailers|
|Monday, 20 August 2012 00:00|
DELTA Corporation has denied accusations by the Beverages Wholesalers and Retailers Association that it is trying to sideline independent wholesalers. The association was formed by beverages wholesalers and retailers to lobby for their interests as a direct result of Delta’s announcement in May that it had slashed margins for wholesalers to 2,6 percent from 5 percent.
The organisation has been on Delta’s case ever since.
Recently, an official of the association accused Delta of taking a “self-interest approach” in its dealings with independent wholesalers of its products.
“It has come to our attention that Delta intends to give us letters that will say that if you are wholesaler you may not be a bottle store owner.
“They are the manufacturer so they also want to wholesale and if they could they would have bottle stores as well. We have been in this trade for decades and what we are seeing now is a management that has a self-interest approach to business,” said the official who chose to remain anonymous.
Delta corporate affairs director Mr George Mutendadzamera, however, said the beverage giant’s involvement in the wholesale of its products was not something new.
“Our business has been involved in wholesaling for a long time now and this arrangement has benefited and continues to benefit our customers and consumers,” he said.
Delta Beverages manufactures lager beer, traditional sorghum beer and sparkling soft drinks, and in terms of its own distribution network, the company has 38 beverage centres and seven customer collection depots.
The lager beers include Castle Lager, Castle Milk Stout, Golden Pilsener, Lion Lager, Carling Black Label, Zambezi Lager, Zambezi Lite Lager, Bohlinger’s Lager, Eagle Lager, while its traditional beer business consists of Chibuku and Rufaro.
According to Mr Mutendadzamera, Delta is not deliberately trying to muscle out the independent retailers and wholesalers from its distribution chain.
“It has always been the practice that our partners either wholesale or retail our products. This is so because as a distribution agent, any given wholesaler receives from Delta a discount on the wholesale price of our products which in turn allows that wholesaler to sell to our customers at the wholesale list price.”
Earlier in June Mr Mutandadzamera told delegates attending a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce congress that the company would not budge on its decision as it was reached following a careful review of “prevailing (economic) conditions”.
He has, however, said Delta will continue to engage the association on other issues affecting them.
“We are engaging the new Beverages Wholesalers and Retailers Association on a variety of issues,” he said.