Makro is an international brand of Warehouse clubs, also called cash and carries. Originally a Dutch-based chain, the first one opened in Amsterdam in 1968. In the following years more stores opened in the Netherlands and in several other European countries and, in 1971, South Africa. In the 1970s and 1980s Makro extended its business to the Americas and Asia. Makro had also expanded to the United States in the mid-1980s. In 1989, Kmart bought the US locations, and converted most of them to Pace Warehouse in 1990. In 1998, Makro owner SHV Holdings sold the Makro stores in Europe to Metro AG.
Makro stores are not open to the general public (except in Belgium and Brazil Non-members not eligible for discounts), but only to businesses which have to be registered members in order to gain entry to the store.
SHV originated in 1896 from a merger between a number of large coal mining companies, some of which had been active since the 18th century.
In 1968, The first Makro store opened in Amsterdam.
In 1971, The first Makro store outside Europe opened in South Africa (the South African stores were subsequently in 1990 exchanged for a shareholding in Massmart and in 2004 SHV sold its Massmart shares).
In 1998, All European Makro stores were acquired by Metro AG, the German retail and wholesale giant.
In 2010, Makro Cash & Carry Indonesia was sold to Lotte Mart and rebranded as Lotte Mart Wholesale.
In 2012, Metro sold the Makro UK business to Booker Group; and Makro-Habib in Pakistan became Metro-Habib.
In 2013, SHV sold Siam Makro Pcl. (Thailand) to CP ALL, a subsidiary of CP Group.
In 2014, Metro sold the Makro Greek business to Sklavenitis.
European stores can be found in the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Stores have spread as far as South Africa, Thailand and eastern Asia, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil (76 stores across Brazil).
Makro stores formerly existed in the United States (bought by Kmart in 1989 and converted into Pace Warehouses the following year), China, Indonesia (both bought by Lotte Mart and converted into such stores), Malaysia (bought by Tesco) and the Philippines (bought by SM Prime Holdings and converted into SM Hypermarket (14 Makro branches) and SaveMore Market (1 Makro branch)), in Pakistan (Makro-Habib).
Makro Netherlands operates 17 stores across the Netherlands, with seven of the stores also containing a fuel station. Makro Netherlands is owned by the Metro Group.
Siam Makro Public Company Limited was established in 1988. At the end of 2014 there were 77 Makro stores and five Siam Frozen Food stores in operation, serving a registered customer base of 2.6 million. Revenues for 2015 were 156 billion baht with a net profit of 5.4 billion baht. Siam Makro shares are traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).
In 2013, Siam Makro was purchased by Charoen Pokphand Group for US$6.6 billion.
Makro UK operates 30 branches across the United Kingdom. Since 2012 Makro UK has been owned by Booker Group, and 11 of the Makro branches now operate as a combined Booker/Makro.
Makro sells food and non-food products, usually located in different sections of the store. Each store also contains a hot-food cafeteria, and a cash machine.
The food section always includes a fresh fish section, a wine section, fresh meat and butchery department, and refrigerated aisles. The non-food area includes clothing, DIY, office supplies, electricals, computing, and seasonals such as garden furniture.
Special offers are featured via a printed and online fortnightly brochure known as Makro Mail.
The stores are not open to the general public, but serve the following trades:Newsagent's shops and convenience stores.
Restaurants, hotels and caterers.
Schools, universities, sport clubs and associations.
Customers can shop at Makro with a membership card.
Makro UK used to have the tag-line "The UK's No.1 Discounter". This tag-line was replaced with "For Professionals". Makro has subsequently changed this to "Your business partner everyday" [sic].
Recent changes to the Makro UK structure include the closure of three stores: Wolverhampton, Coventry and Swansea. Metro announced that the company has to be financially independent by 2011, and in 2012 Makro UK was sold to the rival wholesaler Booker Group in an agreement valued at around £140 million.