Kudzanai Sharara Taking Stock
Buying a company through a management buyout can be a short-cut to financial success but the risks can be significant, even for a well-managed and successful business. It takes courage to leave the relative security and comfort of a management position to face the challenges of ownership and independent accountability and courage is what the new owners of Gain Cash and Carry seem to be showing.
Gain Cash & Carry (Gain) was the result of a management buyout of National Foods depots at the end of 2016, but just under a year on, the company has grown exponentially to become a serious competitor in the Zimbabwean wholesale arena, offering a broader range of products in more than 61 branches throughout Zimbabwe.
Since the takeover at the end of last year, management has not limited itself to the old National Foods depots model, with CEO Liberty Murimwa saying: “To address the customer need for convenience, we have created a one stop shop destination.”
To that effect Gain has since introduced a wide range of products at all branches and all major wholesale categories such as dry groceries, health & beauty aids (HABA), beverages, liquor & cigarettes, kitchenware, plastic ware, agricultural inputs (maize seeds) and many more.
Operations Director, Johnson Gapu, further identified the company’s key areas of success.
“We have rebranded our branches and our people to allow the customer to identify us in all the locations that we are in. Some of our customers had to travel long distances to reach us and to that end we responded by increasing our footprint by opening new branches in those markets and brought the convenience right to their door steps. Gain Cash and Carry has also relocated some of its branches to better and competitive locations.”
A dedicated procurement team is constantly striving to negotiate competitive terms with the suppliers, in order to pass on the benefit to customers, and Murimwa boasted that the company’s products, “priced with the customer in mind,” remain some of the most affordable in this arena.
Commenting on the number of jobs created since takeover, Human Resources Executive Leonet Mavura said the headcount has gone up by 30 percent.
“We estimate a downstream creation of employment numbering over 3,000 jobs. One of our Social Corporate Responsibilities is to create employment in the areas we operating in. As we have opened the new branches and relocated additional staff was a necessity and we recruited from the localities,” Leonet said.
Another change brought by the new management is the internalisation of previously outsourced functions.
“We understand that people are a key resource in this business. By bringing previously outsourced services in-house, we are benefiting from the combined efforts of a more committed, loyal and dedicated team,” Mavura said.
Speaking about the financial outlays since the transition, Liberty Murimwa said: “We have injected approximately $0,7 million. This includes renovations, the opening of new branches, re-branding, and the introduction of a new system.”
Mr Murimwa said, the business has welcomed and embraced the different modes of payment that are in the economy and this has allowed the company to continue to transact and afford better controls in the business at less cost.
“We accept all modes of payment as stipulated by the laws of the country — Eco-Cash, swipe, RTGS — and all currencies as required by the laws of the country,” said Murimwa adding that service is another key area of focus for the company’s branches nationwide, with facilities for customers to pre-order or request assistance whilst shopping.
In line with its focus on affordability and convenience, Gain recently launched a loyalty scheme called SUPER GAINS @GAIN, where customers can collect points towards the redemption of different prizes. These include tractors, 3-tonne trucks, 18-seater minibuses, breeder bulls, generators, laptops, borehole drilling & installation and many more.
“We wanted to reward our loyal customers with prizes that have a real value and relevance to them,” Carl Kusada, Marketing Manager at GAIN, said.
Parallel to this initiative is the GAIN credit facility — Tumela/Tumeza in partnership with a Micro-finance Company. Under this arrangement, all salaried individuals can get credit from the Micro-finance partner and shop at Gain Cash and Carry to the value of their credit amount given. An individual therefore gets to BUY NOW & PAY LATER. Applications can be made in all Gain branches nationwide and be approved within 24hrs.
Gain Cash & Carry, in partnership with ZymPay, recently introduced online vouchers which can be redeemed at any of over 61 Gain Cash & Carry branches in Zimbabwe for foodstuff and household goods.
“We know that many of our customers rely on money transfers from family in the diaspora to pay for basic bills,” said Gapu.
“But with such low levels of liquidity in the country, they really struggle to find the cash to pay for their shopping. We chose ZymPay because our customers will no longer need remittances for their vital groceries.”
The voucher scheme negates the need for remittances. It is cheaper than money transfer and attracts a 5 percent diaspora bonus which is added to the value of the voucher on ZymPay’s site.
“ZymPay was set-up to bring fairer and more convenient financial services to help support Diasporas and their families back home,” said Dakshesh Patel, Chief Executive Officer, ZymPay.
“Getting cash is a real challenge for Zimbabweans, so we created our grocery voucher scheme so that Zimbabweans can get a voucher directly, instead of trying to get cash.”
“The decision to partner with ZymPay has come about just in the nick of time,” said Gapu.
“This gives Zimbabweans, both locally and abroad, peace of mind and the knowledge that their families have a quick, convenient and hassle-free access to groceries and other household items”.
Kudzanai Sharara Taking Stock