Changes to Makro’s strategy in the UK were outlined by food buying director Allard Sjollema, and he dismissed rumours that it planed to exit the UK or was struggling.
Referring to parent company Metro’s presence in 29 countries, he said: “The UK is, and will be, a part of our network, and we believe we will be very successful in the UK.” He added that sales last year had been far healthier than reports in another trade magazine had suggested.
However, he conceded that the company had not got its strategy completely right in the UK in the past. He said Makro had been distracted by short-term profits of serving professional business users, and should have been focusing more on the needs of its core customers, who were involved in retailing and catering and hospitality.
Steps had been taken towards this goal, he said, with remodelling of a handful of stores, but had been too slow and too expensive. He gave a commitment that Makro would remodel all its stores by 2011, but instead of investing up to pound;10m per store, as it had before, it would cost pound;1m, and the time would be cut from 26 weeks to 6 weeks.