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Retail group, Red Star Holdings, has opened an operation in Zambia, which began trading over a month ago but is yet to start full-scale operations due to pending exchange control approvals.
Red Star, a subsidiary of starafricacorporation, has been on an expansion drive since listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 2006.The Zambian branch was opened during the 12 months ending March 31 2008. In a statement accompanying results, group board chairman Patison Sithole said the Zambian business unit, Red Star Distributors Zambia Limited had not yet started trading during the year to March 31, 2008.

"Funding for the operation was successfully arranged and a dedicated management team from Zimbabwe has already relocated to Zambia. However, limited trading started in April 2008 pending delivery of shelving from Zimbabwe for which exchange control approval to export is being finalised," said Sithole. So, except for the Zambian operation, all business units under Red Star were profitable during the year to March 31, 2008. Group turnover soared 70 259 percent to $73.1 trillion during the reporting period, while profit before tax surged 5 732 percent to $830.6 billion. Earnings per share, at $22.87, were 2 587 percent higher than the previous year.

"Margins remained under pressure due to a combination of narrow products range as a result of product unavailability, rising procurement inflation and unviable selling prices," said Sithole. He said the group would remain guided by its strategic thrust as articulated in last year's annual report."The group will continue to take advantage of profitable opportunities locally and regionally," he said.

Red Star Holdings Limited has forty nine outlets comprising forty one Red Star Wholesalers branches, four Advance Wholesalers branches, one Spar Corporate Store , one Savemor Corporate Store and one Spar distribution Centre. The Group acquired R Chitrin and Company Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd in April 2006 which comprises a wholesale unit, a Cash and Carry and a beverage centre. The Red Star Group offers a variety of consumer products whose range includes, but is not limited to, dry groceries, household products, hardware, liquor, health and beauty products, cigarettes, beverages, stationery, building materials and electrical products.

The Red Star brand is well known in Zimbabwe, particularly in the rural areas where it has its beginnings. The brand has recently become a household name in all major towns in the country and is increasingly becoming popular in the larger towns and cities. Red Star Holdings Limited has the country's largest wholesale network and is the only wholesaler capable of reaching consumers in the remotest parts of Zimbabwe, with products and services that would otherwise be the preserve of urban dwellers.

Through its Advance brand, and the associated Spar franchise in Zimbabwe's Western Region, Red Star Holdings now caters for the middle to high income market segment realising the Company's strategy to reach customers across all socio-economic groups in Zimbabwe.

Fascinating stuff!
Posted: 8 June 2008 at 08:22
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