ZIMBABWE headquartered pan-African fast foods chain, Simbisa Brands says it is to stage an aggressive expansion drive across six countries this year, adding 92 new outlets under a US$14 million strategy.
The group that superintends over a string of high end brands, including the African pride and Chicken Inn, is continuing to defy a sea of headwinds that had been provoked by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Simbisa’s fresh forays announced by chairperson Addington Chris Chinake this week, followed the roll out of 47 outlets in Zimbabwe, its biggest market, during the half year ended December 31, 2021.
In a commentary, Chinake said the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed operation would expand its network to 662 counters in one of its biggest growths.
Prospects for growth have been bolstered by a slowdown in Covid–19 infections, following a frustrating 24 months of hard lockdowns that hammered luxury spending.
“The board is confident of the growth prospects of the group and the economic environments in the different countries of operation,” Chinake said this week.
“The key objective in the short term would be to maintain the strong rebound in trading despite continued Covid–19 induced trading conditions.
“Simbisa is on track to meet a target of 92 new store openings by the end of the financial year as communicated in the group’s last report.
“The group has approved plans to open 69 new stores by 30 June 2022 (19 in Zimbabwe, 29 in Kenya, nine Ghana, one in Zambia, one in Mauritius, and 10 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (franchise stores) at a cost of US$14 million.
“By the end of the year 2022, the group should be operating 662 counters,” he said.
The group saw its inflation adjusted revenue rise by 54% to ZW$16,9 billion (about US$1,2 billion) during the review period, from ZW$11 billion (about US$80 million) during the previous comparable period.
It lifted profit after tax to ZW$2,2 billion (about US$16 million), from ZW$1,3 billion (about US$9,4 million) during the comparable period in 2020.
Simbisa’s growth was in line with its long held ambition to dominate the African market as it disclosed to The Standard early last year.
In an exclusive interview with Standardbusiness, Simbisa managing director Warren Meares acknowledged that the pandemic was placing a heavy burden on the firm, but noted that his expansion targets would be achieved.
He said Simbisa was targeting to establish footprints in Chirundu, Chegutu, Kadoma and Rusape and unlock 500 job opportunities.
“One thing we want to always do is keep our staff going because one thing we are doing this year is that we want to aggressively open 25 or 30 stores,” the Simbisa MD said.
“We want to open as many stores as we can this year because I truly believe that Zimbabwe is on the up and when that happens we need to be up there too. We want to make sure that we have our stores in all areas that we have always wanted to be.
“These are areas like Chitungwiza, Bulawayo Road in Harare towards N Richards, Chegutu, Kadoma, Rusape, and Chirundu. We want everyone to be able to access our stores.
“This is definitely a year of growth, aggressive growth. We are looking at employing between 400 and 500 new staff members,” Meares said.