Listed beverages concern, Delta Corporation, is reportedly pressing ahead to close 15 customer collection depots (CCDs) as part of strategies to contain costs and rationalise operations.
Sources said this move is likely to lead to hundreds of job losses. This comes as the beverage makera��s lager and soft drinks volumes fell 21 and eight percent respectively for the first quarter ending June 2014. However, sorghum beer volumes increased 15 percent as hard pressed consumers resorted to the cheaper opaque beer brands.
a�?At least 15 CCDs have been closed in Harare and other parts of the country because of the tight business environment. Jobs are being lost and we simply dona��t know whata��s going to happen,a�? a source said.
Delta Corporation company secretary Alex Makamure could neither confirm nor deny the closure of the depots.
a�?The company has over the years intensified direct deliveries to customers to improve service and have face to face contact with our retail partners. This will invariably result in the throughput at some of the CCDs reducing to unsustainable levels. We therefore review each business unit periodically based on viability, seasonal business trends, customer service and other parameters, including adjustments to opening hours. We have no programme for a wholesale closure of depots,a�? he said in a response.
Delta has a total of 35 depots countrywide, which act as either customer collection depots or distribution centres. The tight liquidity conditions prevailing in the country has hit beer retailers and consumers hardest, resulting in reduced demand for beer at the customer collection depots.
a�?Consumer demand remains depressed in line with prevailing subdued economic performance. The stretched consumer is now focusing on value for money products,a�? the company said in its Q1 trading update.
The companya��s earnings have been on a decline after it recorded a nine percent decline for the full year to March 2014.
Delta controls about 96 percent of the beer market and about 92 percent of the sparkling beverages in the country. a�� BH24.