By Daniel; Chigundu
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) says it will be embarking on its maiden Annual State of the Retail Sector Survey with a view to building knowledge that will be used to enhance the sector going forward.
The results of the survey will be presented on the occasion of the Annual National Retailers Awards in November this year ahead of the 2019 national budget announcement.
According to a statement by CZR principal economist Clemence Machadu, the survey will help give a clear picture of the retail sector in the country.
“Through this survey, CZR is primarily aiming to build up a body of knowledge that it will utilize to enhance the retail industry’s understanding of itself, strengthen its lobbying position and decision making.
“We also want to appropriately feed our business intelligence systems with concrete facts about the current retail business environment in which players in the country are operating, as well as to identify in-depth reasons behind their business strategies and the challenges and successes of their operations.
“In our drive to establish the actual conditions and expectations within the retail trade, some of the areas to be covered in the survey include: estimates of annual sales, impact of regulation, gross margins, pricing, employment, retail shelf mix, retail space developments, investment in the sector, among other key variables,” he said.
Machadu added that the survey will target a wide range of businesses that provide household and personal goods and services, including supermarkets, car sales, fuel stations, department stores, hardware retailers, cafes and restaurants, hotels and lodges, as well as other store-based and non-store-based retailers.
Through this initiative, CZR is hoping to generate new primary data about the sector, which will be blended with the existing secondary data already being churned out by other institutions, to compute comprehensive insights and analysis on the retail sector and come up with informed positions for various stakeholders.
CZR also hopes that the survey will give clarity on how retail businesses are responding to the fast-changing business environment and where they see their operations going in the years ahead.
“We believe that the survey is a key component of the country’s Vision 2030 aiming to have Zimbabwe become an upper-class middle-income economy in the next twelve years, as it will help give direction on how retail policy should be designed to strengthen the economic health of Zimbabwe.
“As CZR, we believe that we play a significant role in ‘formulating laws and policy decisions that will lead to the establishment, enhancement and promotion of a sustainable, just, free and democratic society in which people enjoy prosperous, happy and fulfilling lives’ as enshrined in Section 8(1) of the constitution, by ensuring that we give informed and comprehensive representations to policymakers in a bid to have an efficient retail sector where all consumers afford basic necessities and other goods and services.
“The survey will, therefore, provide useful indicators for policy makers, economic analysts and other stakeholders. It will also be useful in forecasting consumer demand, economic growth, inflation, interest rates, imports, the balance of payments and in formulating government policy and central bank policies. Other government agencies and businesses will also use its findings for market research, product development, and business planning to gauge the current trends of the economy,” said Machadu.
Other users of the survey findings include retail and wholesale merchants, businesses, regional councils, media, economic agencies, researchers, banks, marketing and sales division, customer services division, inter alia.
The findings of the research will be published in a magazine to be produced by CZR. The principal economist said “we are in the process of finalizing and validating a questionnaire that will be used for the purposes of this study and we are planning to start distributing it before the end of this month.
“We also call upon various stakeholders to kindly assist with funds to help us effectively conduct this important survey,” he said.