Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
BULAWAYO’S city centre was a hive of activity yesterday as people made last minute shopping ahead of the Christmas Holiday celebration today.
Retail outlets that include major supermarkets and clothing shops had brisk business as customers did their last minute shopping.
It was however a diferent story for gift shops as there was not much activity.
A snap survey carried out by Business Chronicle yesterday showed that consumers were buying items such as groceries and clothing.
Most of the shoppers in clothing shops were buying clothes for their children.
In supermarkets, many of the shoppers were buying groceries and despite the complaints of exorbitant prices, many were pushing full trolleys.
In separate interviews, some of the customers said they were geared for this year’s Christmas celebration despite that they were spending more because of high prices.
“We are geared up to celebrate this Christmas with all our family members at home and we also have relatives who are coming to join us.
We spent more than what we had budgeted because the prices of basic commodities such as cooking oil, rice, and beef have gone up significantly compared to last month,” said Mrs Lynette Nkomo who was shopping at OK Zimbabwe corner Jason Moyo/9th Avenue.
The consumers said most supermarkets were fully stocked with basic commodities ahead of the festive season.
Another customer, Mrs Nomaqhawe Ndlovu who was shopping at Pick n’ Pay Lobengula Street said: “What is worth noting this festive season is that most retail outlets are fully stocked, consumers can easily walk in and buy whatever products they want although prices are on the high side.”
Official data released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) yesterday showed that month-on-month inflation for this month stood at 5,76 percent remaining constant compared to the November 2021 rate of 5,76 percent.
Zimstat also indicated that year-on-year inflation rate (annual percentage change) for the month of December 2021 as measured by the all-items Consumer Price Index stood at 60,74 percent.
This means that inflation between December 2020 and December this year increased by 60,74 percent.
There was also a hive of activity at clothing retail outlets such as Jet Stores situated at corner Leopold Takawira Avenue/Jason Moyo Street and Edgars Stores located at corner Jason Moyo Street/8th Avenue.
Ms Sithokozile Mkhwebu who was shopping at Jet Stores said she was buying clothes for her children.
She said the shop was stocked with quality clothes hence there were long winding queues of people waiting to pay.
“Here there are quality products but what is disappointing is that they are slow in serving customers. I have been in the queue for almost two hours now and the queue is not moving,” she said.
A shop attendant who preferred not to be named citing professional reason said they were having challenges with their payment system as the network was slow.
“Today it’s a busy day as you can see. But the challenge we are having is the network on our payment platform which is slow. That’s why you are seeing this long winding queue,” said the attendant.
Some of the shop attendants who also preferred not to be named said business this week had generally been good but yesterday was the best day.
“Since the beginning of this week we have been having good business but today is the best,” said a shop attendant at Spar situated corner 12th Avenue/Fife Street.
A hair dresser at Bliss Hair and Beauty salon situated along 5th Avenue who also preferred not to be named said they have been busy this week .
“Today we had good business compared to the other days. Had there been no Covid-19 and the curfew, we could have extended our operating hours,” said the hair dresser.
Last week, President Mnangagwa extended the Covid-19 Level 2 national lockdown by a further two weeks citing the rapid rise in infections driven by the new Omicron variant.
Article Source: The Chronicle