Traders recorded brisk business on Christmas Day, with most supermarkets and informal businesses swarmed by consumers for the better part of the day.
In Central Harare, a number of supermarkets such as Pick ‘n Pay had unusually high numbers of customers buying soft drink, bread, ice blocks, potato crisps and other delicious products associated with Christmas.
Coke, which was in short supply in the build up to December 25, was suddenly available and in huge quantities on Christmas Day.
OK Zimbabwe (Marimba branch) also had 500ml PET cokes for $1, with customers allowed to buy up to 12 bottles.
Early morning, Pick ‘n Pay was allowing customers to buy up to two crates of coke but drastically slashed the quantities to six items per customer after realising the huge demand.
Mr Nyikadzino Hove, who had just bought 12 bottles of coke with the help of his son, said he was happy to have obtained the product to spice up his Christmas.
“I am so excited to have bought some coke after a long time. I am thankful to the Government for organising that soft drinks be sold on Christmas Day. This has caught speculators off guard and we were able to buy a 300ml bottle of coke at 55c unlike the US$1 or $3,50 bond notes at which it is sold on the black market,” said Mr Hove.
Numerous other customers devised strategies of defeating the limit on soft drinks by enlisting the services of street kids, who in turn got “thank you sums” ranging from 50c to $2 depending on the number of drinks they bought.
There was no limit for bread and customers would be seen in most shops around Harare buying anything from two to 20 loaves, to ensure there was enough for the day.
Later in the day, shopping centres in both urban and rural areas, were teeming with customers buying alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Reports from Mashonaland Central show that many businesses ran out of stocks mainly of beer and soft drinks.
In Mberengwa, Midlands province, the situation was the same at most business centres, including Vutika, where hundreds of villagers turned up to celebrate with friends and relatives.
Early morning on December 25, Pick ‘n Pay Chivhu had hordes of customers wanting beer, soft drink and bread. Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu concurred that most of their members recorded brisk business on Christmas Day.
“I can say on the 24th and part of the 25th, there was improved business activity in most urban areas. When we also checked with outlying areas such as RDCs (Rural District Councils), we gathered that quite a number of people were celebrating Christmas at various shopping centres.
“People were celebrating despite the challenges obtaining in the country as they sought to re-energise for the coming year.
“However, in some areas, some citizens’ celebrations were dampened by their failure to access their favourite alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages,” said Mr Mutashu.
He called on stakeholders to plan for the availability of products three months before Christmas to ensure there are no shortages.
In terms of bread, Mr Mutashu said it was imperative for Government to ensure that there was more flour for citizens so that they make on bread, “which is cheaper”, as opposed to waiting for bread makers to deliver.