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ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange listed Meikles Limited reported a 21% jump in revenue for continuing operations in inflation adjusted terms largely on account of positive performance in its supermarkets division, according to a quarterly trading update for the period to June.

Sales volumes at the supermarkets segment increased by 21% for the quarter relative to the same period of the previous year, the company said.

Zimbabwe’s first COVID-19 hard lockdown started at the beginning of April 2020, restricting movement thereby affecting customer volumes and cutting trading hours.

“During the same period last year, sales volume was adversely impacted by stricter lockdown measures implemented by the government in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic,” Meikles said in the update.

The group said its agricultural segment was classified as a discontinued operation and an asset held for distribution to shareholders on March 31 2021. However, revenue for the agricultural segment was 41% and 248% ahead of that of the previous financial year in inflation adjusted and historical cost terms, respectively.

In the hospitality cluster, room occupancy for the hotel segment was 11%, up from no occupancy during the same period of the previous year.

“The occupancy was split 66% and 34% between foreign and local guests, respectively. The hotel was closed due to measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic during the period April to June 2020. The roll out of a vaccination programme in Victoria Falls will play a key role in confidence building and return of international tourism,” said the group.

For the agriculture segment, Meikles added, bulk tea production and export sales for the quarter were 15% below  that of the same period of the previous year.

“Tea harvesting was affected by limited availability of labour. Most of the available labour was assigned to harvest macadamia nuts and avocados during the period under review,” added Miekles.

The company said the segment would invest in motorised tea  harvesting machines as the shortage of labour was bound to recur during the same period going forward.

“The average selling price per kilogramme firmed by 3% in US$ terms from prior year’s average price. Macadamia nuts harvested during the period were 65% above prior year while avocado harvest was 27% ahead of the prior year,” added the group.

Miekles said last year’s harvest was reflective of the impact of the two-year drought experienced prior to the just-ended agricultural season.

Group operating profit margins exceeded those of the same period last year in both inflation adjusted and historical cost terms.

Going forward, the group is optimistic that economic growth for this year will exceed the  forecast  figure on account of higher than expected agricultural output.

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