Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
RETAIL chain Choppies Zimbabwe on Friday opened its 18th branch in Bulawayo, bringing to 33 the number of branches it now runs across the country.
The new branch was opened at Parklands Shopping Centre in Parklands suburb. The branch occupies the building which used to house OK Zimbabwe’s only up-market store, Bon Marche, which closed shop last year.
Bon Marche Parklands was closed amid allegations that the retail outlet was making losses. In an interview after the opening of the branch, Choppies marketing co-ordinator, Mrs Trashmah Kazembe, said the opening of the Parklands branch shows their commitment to meeting customer demand.
“Today we opened Choppies Parklands. It’s our shop number 33 in the country. We had 17 retail outlets in Bulawayo, so the opening of this branch today brings the number of our outlets to 18 in the city,” she said.
“We feel this outlet is going to serve people who want private shopping in serene environments especially the residents around here (Parklands, Kumalo, Mahatshula and Killarney). We are also catering for drivers because we have quite some parking space, which is different from other outlets in the city centre.
“As a business, our style is different. We heard the cry of the target market and we feel we can cater for them here because our prices and product range are very competitive.”
Mrs Kazembe said Choppies was ready to meet consumer needs and has capacity to gain more market share. The Bulawayo-headquartered retail giant has in recent years intensified its operations by opening branches across the country in areas such as Gwanda, Gweru, Gokwe, Harare, Chitungwiza, and Bindura. Mrs Kazembe said plans were in progress for Choppies to continue spreading its tentacles across the city and the country at large.
“We still have other areas in the city that have not been catered for like the airport, Cowdray Park and there is still potential for us to open more outlets in the city. We feel there are some suburbs in the city that need convenient shopping so we are going to grow,” she said.
The retail chain employs over 2 000 workers countrywide. Choppies Zimbabwe is a subsidiary of the Botswana and Johannesburg-listed regional retail group. The Mphoko family is the principal shareholder in the business. Choppies operates 125 outlets in southern Africa, 72 stores in Botswana and 35 in South Africa. It plans to open 50 outlets in Zimbabwe in the medium-term.