Makro revamps stores to compete

Massmart plans to revamp 10 of its 17 Makro stores, which would thereafter offer fresh produce, butchery items and new brands.

The chief executive of Makro stores, Kevin Vyvyan-Day, said yesterday that the new stores would be more shopper and environmentally friendly and would allow consumers to buy single items as well as bulk packs.

“We already have a personal care section and fresh produce and a butchery section where customers can get fresh meat,” he said.

Vyvyan-Day said although Makro sourced most of its supplies locally, the retailer did have a few new brands. These included private label Great Value batteries and Buddez iced tea, which is made in the US and sold at Walmart’s smaller-format Club warehouse stores.

Abdul Davids, the head of research at Kagiso Asset Management, said the benefits of being part of Walmart included the US chain’s global procurement capability and its private label branded goods. The continuing trend of sourcing these goods would not affect local suppliers, but would expand the available product range.

Walmart acquired control of Massmart last year and a Competition Appeal Court ruling on its supplier development fund is awaited.

Vyvyan-Day said the new generation Makro stores would still have a warehouse look, but skylights would let in natural light and save energy.

“Heat from [the] regeneration plant is reclaimed and used to heat water, which is then used to heat the building in winter.”

A Makro will be opened in Bloemfontein by year end.

Massmart, which has 348 stores in total, generated a 38 percent increase in retail sales to R61.2 billion for the year to June. Makro stores contributed about R15.3bn to group retail sales. This meant each Makro store generated about R1bn annually.

At yesterday’s opening of the Cape Gate Makro in Cape Town, customers bought 1 100 television sets.

Vyvyan-Day said the Cape Gate outlet was designed to look like an office block.

Makro stores are generally built in non-residential areas, but the Cape Gate store is near a residential suburb and next to a mall housing Checkers and Pick n Pay stores.

The 16 000m2 store trades more than 55 000 brands sourced locally and internationally and has created about 450 permanent jobs.

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