REGIONAL retail group, Choppies, has spread its wings to Mozambique where it is scheduled to open its first shop in Tete province today.
The Botswana and Johannesburg-listed firm already boasts of a wider regional branch network with branches across Africa.
“Choppies is spreading. We are opening our shop in Tete province in Mozambique tomorrow Wednesday the 29th. We have partnered with the (Samora) Machel family that side and it’s the first shop of many, starting in Tete because of the proximity to our warehouse. It’s the first shop in Mozambique,” said a senior official who requested anonymity.
The giant grocer is expected to release its half year financial results ended December 31 before end of this month. Chief executive officer Ramachandran Ottapathu is on record as saying Zimbabwean operations were on a rebound, a few years after setting shop in the country.
“Group results were negatively affected by trading losses in new regions namely Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania. Despite difficult trading conditions in South Africa, focused attention resulted in an improvement with losses narrowing compared to 2016. The Zimbabwean segment, despite very difficult economic conditions, returned to profit. Botswana results were affected by the rand strengthening against the Botswana pula,” he said.
Ottapathu said the group’s EPS is expected to show a reduction of 40 percent — 50 percent from the EPS reported for the half year ended December 31, 2015.
Choppies entered the local market by buying Bulawayo-based businessman Raj Modi’s investment company, for $21.2 million and taking over 11 of the outlets that were operating under the Aaro Mart and Spar franchises in Bulawayo in 2013. The retail giant has since grown the number of its outlets in the country to 32.
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s family are key shareholders in the group, whose investments in Zimbabwe have created 2 000-plus jobs with the outlets becoming a market for dozens of local industry and agricultural suppliers. The Zimbabwean unit has set a target of opening up to 50 branches countrywide and aiming for a turnover of $350 million.