Diaspora Matters

Highglen Shopping Centre- Last Man Standing

High Glen

Two weeks ago we covered 6 areas where Zimbabweans are spending their monies on. The good thing is that after the publication of the article, OK Zimbabwe posted financial results which showed an 800% increment in profits when compared to the previous period. Dear reader, can you give us any sector in Zimbabwe which records an increase of 800%?

On our article  we covered the 6 areas where Zimbabweans are spending money on as:

  1. Food
  2. Education
  3. Accomodation
  4. Transport
  5. Medical Aid and
  6. Entertainment

Today we were at High Glen Shopping Centre in Harare and decided to check out opportunities at the once busy shopping mall. We decided to use the ‘6 area benchmark’ to see whether the 6 areas we mentioned indeed exist on the ground.


The situation at this Old Mutual owned property is quite sad as most businesses have closed shop. We believe that 80% of businesses have left the shopping mall with high rentals being a major factor. Business is low and will remain low into the short to medium term. The only businesses that are operational are in the following sectors:

  1. Retail: Choppies Supermarket

There is one major retail shop at the shopping mall which seems to be enjoying brisk business in the middle of gloom and doom at the centre which is characterised by empty shops. This is one of the main areas at the centre which is busy and does not show any signs of financial distress.

  1. Retail: Delta Distribution Centre

The Delta Beverages Distribution is another centre where all seems to be going on well. There are always a lot of trucks queuing to buy soft and alcoholic drinks.

  1. Medical Industry

Medical chambers were open; Pharmacies well stocked and Medical Laboratories owned by CIMAS were open. This area does not show any sign of distress and will open shop without distress in the short to medium term.

  1. Financial Sector: Banks and Micro-finance Institutions

This is one area where we witnessed a lot of activity with many people queuing to withdraw cash especially at the ZB bank. The only microfinance institution open is Micro king.

  1. Clothing Industry

Most shops that sell clothes have closed their doors and the only major shop that remains open is TOPICS and a few small boutiques.

  1. Other: There is one pub open, one hardware, not more than 2 butcheries and a few small hair salons.

Most furniture shops closed shop, there is space for a retail shop which was previously occupied by TM Supermarket.

Potential at High Glen Shopping Centre

The catchement area of High Glen is huge and the catchment area includes Budiriro, Glenview, Mufakose, Glen Norah, Glenview, Kambuzuma and Highfields. These areas have a combined population of more than 200,000 residents and so there is no reason why this shopping centre  should be a white elephant!

The cross border bus stop is a welcome initiative that will help drive traffic to the centre. The centre has excellent parking space and the newly resurfaced tarmac shows that Old Mutual has big plans for the shopping mall. For anyone thinking of investment, there is need to draft a good business plan that has a 12 months planning horizon. The plan should consider rental as a huge cost driver which has to be settled in advance.

Sectors that provide opportunities include the 6 areas that we covered especially in the areas of medicine (consider a herbal shop), entertainment (soccer betting), micro finance lending, entertainment (video games for kids), Sports and Fitness (gym), transport-vehicle spare parts, and another promising business idea (this writer will pursue it).

So we confirmed the areas where Zimbos are presently spending their monies on. We confirmed this at High Glen Shopping Centre this morning. If you are planning on investment and your planning horizon is 24 months and less, then it is advisable to look at the 6 areas we covered in our survey. It is not all doom and gloom when it comes to investment in Zimbabwe-for some you may need to follow the money-where is it coming from, where is it being spend and where is it coming from?

We also hope that Old Mutual will have a relook at their rentals and take into consideration current prevailing conditions in the economy. It is really disheartening to see a lot of closed shops because this represents lost income, lost jobs and lost opportunities-the opportunity cost is extremely high! All stakeholders at the centre should work together to make the shopping centre attractive so that they can bring back the ‘zing’ to the shopping centre because it has great potential as demonstrated in the past.







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