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He said the group was ready for the South African retailers, adding his company had made significant investment in its stores to keep up with international standards.

South African retailer, Pick n Pay will soon open a store in Kamfinsa at the end of this month while some of TM Supermarket’s stores will be rebranded to Pick n Pay. 

Zireva  said OK’s refurbishments had placed it ahead of local competition, particularlay the stores that had sprouted during the hyperinflation era.

The OK group had registered growth over the last two years after the US$10 million capital raise.

The group now has 44 OK stores, seven Bon Marche stores and two OK Mart stores, a total of 53 outlets.

Two new stores were opened during the year and the group would continue focusing on improved facilities, Zireva said.

Two more stores would be opened this year while Bon Marche Avondale, which is currently being renovated, would open at the end of the month.
Refurbishment and upgrading of OK Marimba will also start next month.

Zireva said OK Fife Ave’s space would be increased by 50% in this half year.  A total US$16 million would be used for the planned expansion projects.

Overall, four stores are scheduled for renovationbefore the end of the financial year with a view to maintaining the company’s market dominance.

Chief operating officer Albert Katsande said the new generation of stores with improved ambiance and OK Mart had had a meaningful impact on market coverage.

OK Mart was a high mark-up operation, which had added significantly to margins. 

In the year to March, the group reported a 140% growth in the bottom-line profit to US$10,3 million after a 60% sales growth to US$412,6 million. Earnings amounted to one US cent a share, an increase of 133% from last year’s 0,43U US cents while the group declared a dividend per share of 0,35 US cents, bringing the aggregate dividend per share for the year to 0,5 US cents.

Net operating expenses increased by 38,7% to US$27,6 million from US$19,9 million but the ratio of total operating expenses was largely attributable to the increase in electricity tariffs as well as the cost of running larger generators during power outages.

Borrowings amounted to US$5 million, which related to a facility the group had obtained during  capital raising two years ago.

Zireva said the funds would be used for the ongoing store refurbishment programme. The cost of borrowings increased to US$500 000 against US$100 000 last year.

He said the average cost of the facility was at 12%, adding the company was able to get much cheaper rates locally now but the facility was from two years ago.

The group had capital expenditure of US$11,5 million compared to  US$9,4 million last year while it closed with a cash position of US$11,7 million. –– Staff Writer.