Retail outlets re-open after destruction

SOME retail outlets in Bulawayo have fully stocked and re-opened their doors to the public, following lootings by gangs which also destroyed property during demonstrations that rocked the country last month.

A survey established that retail outlets — Food 4 Less and Cover Supermarkets — have re-opened their shops in most of Bulawayo’s western suburbs and are seeking closer co-operation from local communities to create strong bonds. In separate interviews, representatives from the retail shops said despite the losses they suffered, they remain committed to serve Bulawayo.

Food 4 Less managing director Mr Joseph Williams said the destruction of property and looting was an unfortunate incident but as a business they had a mandate and goal to achieve.

“We have a commitment to achieve not only to the Bulawayo community but the country. We are also looking to expand from where we are right now as a business. We will soon meet with the community to discuss the incidents of the demonstrations. We opened last Wednesday and the opening was greeted well by customers,” said Mr Williams.

He said despite the losses, the retail outlet would not increase prices of goods and commodities.

“Our prices will remain the same. What transpired during the protests was unfortunate. What we as a business are concerned about is not about the losses we made not from losing goods but from the investment we lost through equipment,” said Mr Williams.

He said with regard to the retail outlet’s expansion drive they envisioned establishing a third outlet in the city.

“We offer a full package, opening an outlet in Emganwini suburb was with our vision to offer full services to the community. We are seeking to set up another outlet soon, if funds permit,” said Mr Williams.

He said as part of their engagement and efforts to assist the community they had set up funeral arrangements.

“We have an arrangement where we assist the community. Also we assist in other occasions with the provision of essential services needed.

We also have a platform for grocery groups, where they can purchase goods at affordable prices at anytime, store and collect them at the same price they bought them,” said Mr Williams.

Cover Supermarkets owner Mr Bulisile Tshuma said they reopened a week after the demonstrations.

“We have reopened four out of five branches and we hope to have stabilised by end of June. We believe that this was a sinister plot by some forces to destabilise us but we are on our feet through the grace of God,” he said.

Mr Tshuma said they were eager to work with the Government to ensure business is brought back to normal.

“We are glad the Government is willing to assist us in such a time. We as businesspeople are also working hard towards servicing the community and the country,” he said.