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MAKRO Cash & Carry CR is the largest Czech
self-service wholesale store aimed at professionals
in the areas of independent retail and catering. It is
a part of the multinational group METRO Cash &
Carry International, which operates in 28 countries
with 584 cash & carry centres located around the
globe, employing over 83,000 people. METRO Cash &
Carry International is number one on the international
self-service wholesale market, with the group attaining
a turnover of €30 billion in 2006. METRO Cash &
Carry is a sales division of the Düsseldorf based
METRO Group, one of the most important groups
doing business in Germany and one of the largest
trade and retail groups worldwide, reporting annual
sales of € 60 billion in 2006. The group’s sales divisions
also include Real, Extra, Media Markt, Saturn and
Galeria Kaufhof.
As a part of the fast-moving development of
the post-revolution Czech market in the 1990s, the
market share held by the top ten chains increased
six-fold and their aggregate turnover rose eight-fold.
Despite strong competition, MAKRO has remained
the long-term leader on the wholesale market.
In the Czech Republic, the network of MAKRO
is made up of twelve wholesale centres. The majority
of these stores have a sales area of 10,500 m², and
the smallest store has 6,000 m² of sales space. All
centres are easy to reach and are located near main
thoroughfares and have extensive car parks for
customers. The centres themselves are equipped
with the latest merchandise storage and distribution
technology and feature highly powerful cooling units in
the refrigerated and frozen food sections.
MAKRO customers can be divided into three
main groups. The first of these are small, independent
retailers who primarily buy goods for resale. Secondly
there is the Horeca (hotel, restaurant and catering)
sector that uses purchases at MAKRO for providing
a wide range of services. The third group is general
business owners who mainly buy office supplies, food
and appliances for their companies.
MAKRO launched its operations on
the Czech market in 1997, when
three branches were
opened within a threemonth period, and
by 2002 ten
already open
throughout the
country. Today,
view MAKRO
as the largest
and most competent wholesale chain in the Czech
Republic and a whole series of awards support this.
From 1999 to 2005, MAKRO ranked first on the list of
the top ten chains according to turnover and in 2005
MAKRO received the Zlatý dukát (Golden Ducat)
award. The company is regularly ranked among the top
100 most admired companies (Czech Top 100) and
was also elected Top Retailer 2002-2003 and 20042005. Since 2003 the chain has regularly received the
Multiservis Retailer of the Year award.
MAKRO Cash & Carry CR was originally
established as a subsidiary of SHV MAKRO, one of
the largest resale groups worldwide. As of 1st January
1998, however, METRO Group took over all of SHV
MAKRO’s wholesale activities.
In 1997, sales in three self-service wholesale
centres were launched within the Czech Republic: in
Ostrava–Hrabová, in Čestlice (a suburb of Prague)
and in Brno. From 1998-2005 stores
were opened in Ústí nad Labem, Velká
Bystřice, Prague’s Černý Most and
Stodůlky districts, České Budějovice,
Hradec Králové, Pilsen and Zlín. The
twelfth and, for now, the last centre
was built in Liberec in 2005.
Between 2002-2005 the entire
network of stores underwent extensive
modernisation with the aim of changing
the sales area layout and applying the latest
methods to merchandise quality. This way
MAKRO was able to differentiate itself
even further from its main competitors.
The stores were reorganised and equipped with
modern lighting systems and each centre now has
a covered car park available for customers who
are MAKRO Partners. Parallel to this, the non-food
sections were expanded significantly and the strategic
food service and office supply sections, enhanced
with new product ranges, were relocated closer to
the entrance to the store. The fresh food section
was expanded by as much as 25% and the fruit and
vegetable, fresh fish and dairy sections were moved
to a separate air-conditioned space, with a special
room set aside for fresh fish and dairy product sales.
The wine section also underwent a comprehensive
In 2006, another round of remodelling was started
at the Prague Stodůlky store. The range of services
was expanded, product ranges were enhanced and
further specialised, and the practical organisation of
merchandise within the store was also changed, with
the assortment of meat and frozen foods, fresh fish
and gourmet foods registering the greatest growth.
The wine section was also doubled and expanded by
opening of a wine humidor. Similar changes in other
centres are continuing throughout 2007.
As a part of its additional customer services,
MAKRO has gradually built a network of petrol filling
stations covering the entire chain of wholesale centres.
In 1999 electronic data interchange (EDI) was
implemented at the chain. This set of standards allows
more flexibility in working with suppliers and ensures
that the stock replenishment process is smooth.
to reduce inventory and storage space, translating
into a decrease in overall costs. The product range
is constantly changing and adapting to the client
structure, and this gives retailers space for creating
individual assortment in their own stores and setting
themselves apart from the competitors.
MAKRO customers can use flexible service, quick
reaction to their demands and, last but not least, an
individual approach. The result is that MAKRO Cash &
Carry CR does not compete against small businesses,
but is a partner of small businesses and helps the
sector compete with retail chains. In recent months,
MAKRO has also been fully engaged in carrying out
new projects as part of its support for independent
retailers, gradually arranging the complete redesign of
five different small independent shops. These sample
stores, operated by registered MAKRO customers,
are undergoing reconstruction and adaptations on the
basis of the latest professional sales expertise. The first
to undergo redesign was a grocery store on the main
square in Pyšely; to be followed by another four stores
in the course of 2007.
Another recent innovation is the establishment
of the new MAKRO Food Service division. Thus,
MAKRO now has a full team of both sommeliers and
professionals available to assist in changes of product
assortment in the grocery section, following the latest
information and trends in the food service sector. The
Food Service division also arranges customer training
sessions aimed at the professional preparation of
various food products. Essentially, it teaches how to get
maximum benefit from the fresh, high quality foods
MAKRO offers.
Recent Developments
Ever stronger competition amongst resellers in the
Czech Republic is creating constantly increasing pressure
on prices, and the fight for customer loyalty is becoming
fierce. MAKRO’s effort is to offer merchandise at
a price that is attractive enough for resellers and other
businesses, creating and offering added value.
The cash & carry concept makes it possible to pay
“cash” for merchandise and “carry” it away. MAKRO
is the professional’s first choice, offering quality,
innovation and comprehensive solutions and allowing
customers to focus on their particular needs.
Besides a range of 74,000 products all under one
roof, this system also represents additional advantages,
including the union of high quality and low prices and
a whole line of low-priced private brands that increase
variety in the store’s product range. This all allows
small and mid-sized retailers and other businesses
As early as 2002, MAKRO introduced a labelling
system that makes it possible to find the origin of
a specific product and this traceability feature is used
for various types of meat and certain types of fruit
and vegetables.
In 2006 MAKRO, as a major seller of fresh fish in
the Czech Republic, started co-operating with a newly
opened fish platform in Prague’s Čakovice district – the
only one of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe. This
is where the MAKRO fish buying department is located,
and MAKRO receives all fresh fish from local and
international suppliers exclusively via this platform. As
a result, the delivery time has been cut by as much as
two days which means that goods get to the customer
significantly faster, and guarantees that the fish products
are as fresh and of the highest quality possible.
A Partner Service Desk where consultants
tend to Gold and Silver Partners is available to
customers in each wholesale
centre. Additional sales
representatives visit
restaurant owners and
independent retailers right at
their places of business and,
together with customers,
find ways of innovating their
product assortment or
segment, and MAKRO Gastro for the Horeca segment.
These magazines give information on the services and
products on offer and practical advice about operating
retail stores or food service facilities.
Besides this, MAKRO uses in-store promotion
(posters, fliers, in-store radio, commercials on large
screen televisions, advertisements on skyscrapers,
cashier receipts, dynamic panels etc.) as well as
out-of-store promotion (flags, billboards, signs at
shopping cart corrals, website, direct mailing). Taste
tests held at the centres also increase the customer’s
level of information about current and new products.
Brand Values
One of MAKRO’s strategic aims is to offer
maximum care customised to the customer’s specific
needs and this is the main criterion in all phases of
the decision process at MAKRO. Its position as one
of the largest resellers on the Czech market allows
it to offer top quality at reasonable prices and make
significant long-term investments into quality. As
a result, MAKRO is able to offer premium quality
that corresponds to customers’ individual interests
in the area of groceries and consumer goods, as well
as professional services in the form of consulting,
selecting items and recommending possible changes to
the assortment or menu the customer offers.
The Quality Control Department of MAKRO
was created in 2002 and is now an essential part of
all major processes, watching over goods during the
whole delivery process from the producer all the way
to the MAKRO store, and also overseeing the quality
of customer service.
In an effort to make high quality merchandise
more affordable for customers, MAKRO also created
its own line of private brand goods and this line is
being continuously expanded with, by mid-2007, over
1,200 Aro brand products offered for sale. The Aro
brand guarantees retailers the best price at a standard
quality. METRO Quality products, mainly designated
for food service facilities, also offer high quality at
a reasonable price.
Up-to-date circulars
are MAKRO’s main and the
most effective marketing
tool. These are sent to
registered customers’
addresses and inform them
of the main range of groceries and consumer goods.
Relevant customer groups also regularly receive
subject-specific offers which include, for example,
the office supply catalogue, a special food service
catalogue (Asian and Italian cuisine), catalogues for
newsstands, pubs etc. Specialised Epikure catalogues
are a new feature and are dedicated to selected
categories (such as fish, wine, cheese). Epikure not
only presents MAKRO’s product range to customers,
but also makes recommendations on the use of the
After entering the registered customer’s access code,
all current circulars can be downloaded from MAKRO’s
website.The company also publishes two customer
magazines – MAKRO Profi for the independent store
90% of the merchandise at MAKRO Cash & Carry
CR centres comes from local suppliers.
The number of registered customers is over
95% of all Czech restaurants and 92% of all grocery
stores shop at MAKRO at least once per year.
The MAKRO website has an average visitorship of
over 1,000 customers per hour during peaks.
Every day each MAKRO wholesale centre sells
12 full truckloads of goods; before the Christmas
holidays, this amount doubles.