Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed major retail concern, OK Zimbabwe Limited, has a history spanning over 70 years. The now well established retail giant started with an inaugural retail outlet along First Street in Harare (former Salisbury) in 1942.
The second branch was opened in Bulawayo in 1952. By the close of 1960, the number of outlets in the country had risen to five.
Products in retailing is an assortment of groceries, basic clothing, textiles and house-ware with an allied service “developed in response to customers’ requirements for convenience and value.”
Outlets come in three outstanding brand names; OK Stores, Bon Marche Stores and OK Mart.
OK Mart was first established on premises formerly owned by Makro Zimbabwe in Hillside. There are now 6 OK Mart outlets.
The company also runs Swan Technologies (Private) Limited.
The journey to become a renowned organisation started with the incorporation in 1953 of Spring Master Corporation, a furniture manufacturer then.
In 1977, Delta Corporation acquired the business operations in Springmaster Corporation (now OK Zimbabwe Limited), which they held until the de-merger in October 2001.
In apparent recognition of the new shareholding, the name was changed to Deltrade Limited in 1984 and subsequently to the current “OK Zimbabwe” in July 2001. In October of 2001 the two de-merged.
Two Makro operations and premises (in Harare and Bulawayo) were acquired from Massmart in 2011 after which the stores were re-branded to OK Mart.
The acquisition added new products and services to existing ones. These included outdoor and camping, hi-tech, butchery, clothes and textiles, stationery and general groceries.
The group uses diversified distribution channels to tap into various market segments. Hence, stores are profiled in terms of “design, product range, services and other offerings in a way that effectively caters for the specific requirements in the low, middle and high income consumer categories.”
It prides itself of hosting the largest retail promotion in southern Africa with almost 50 outlets locally, according to the company’s website.
Indications on the group’s trading results to June 2019 are that there are plans to expand markets and enhance customer value propositions. There are also further plans to refurbish existing outlets as well as constructing new ones on identified locations.
The company had a market capitalisation of $853,7 million and a share price of 68,95 cents as updated on November 4, 2019.
Alex Siyavora is the current group chief executive officer.