Zimbabwe’s retail sector is defying the odds. Earlier predictions of a looming collapse of the sector — brought on by an imports-restriction law, a liquidity crunch, competition from informal traders and a fall in consumers’ disposable income — has not materialised. Instead of scaling back, retailers are locked in a fierce contest to either expand their operations or to refurbish existing stores, in a sector that has increasingly become cut-throat. This is at odds with the widespread slump in the rest of Zimbabwe’s economy. Turning up the heat is retail giant Pick n Pay, which has 58 stores in Zimbabwe. It is fast catching up to the country’s biggest retailer, OK Zimbabwe, which has 64 stores. Botswana-headquartered Choppies is the third largest. It operates 32 stores in Zimbabwe and hopes to expand that to 50 by the end of 2017. Pick n Pay owns a 49% stake in TM Supermarkets, with 51% owned by the Meikles group. About 15 stores out of the 58 operate under the TM Pick n Pay banner. ...

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