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Latest Deals | 28th June 2022




Makro was the first chain of cash-and-carry stores to be opened in South Africa.

Makro is a chain of cash-and-carry stores that have been operating in South Africa since 1971 when the first store opened in Germiston, Johannesburg. Makro brought the wholesale cash-and-carry concept into the country, modelling it on the Dutch stores of the same name that had expanded across Europe. With the Germiston store, Makro served as a supplier for small, independently-owned retailers and business owners such as restaurateurs and caterers. By 1979, four more Makro stores had opened. In the same year, the Makro Card was issued to customers for the first time, and only cardholders had access to shop at the store. In 1988, Mark Lamberti was appointed as Makro’s managing director. Lamberti was instrumental in founding Massmart, a wholesale and retail group, with Makro being the first subsidiary. Six years later, a flagship Makro store was opened in Woodmead, Johannesburg and continues to be one of the best-performing outlets within the chain. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Makro opened more stores and evolved from no-frills warehouse outlets to incorporating some retail elements in an effort to attract a broader range of customers to the stores. In 2012, Makro became a part of the Walmart Group when the American retailer acquired 51% of Massmart.

Today, Makro’s customers are a mix of traders who buy in bulk, as well as families and individuals seeking good deals on a wide selection of branded goods. The business has a reputation for having some of the best prices on electronic goods, appliances, liquor, and food. The store carries a broad product range within the general merchandise division, including camping gear, outdoor furniture, and hardware and DIY. The chain has 20 large format stores countrywide, with retail space totalling 217,907 square metres. An e-commerce store was launched in March 2014, with a catalogue of over 55,000 items, including online-exclusive lines. Later in the year, a click-and-collect service became available, where online orders are fulfilled via delivery to secure lockers situated in select Sasol forecourts for collection by customers. In 2016’s The Times Sowetan Shopper Survey, Makro earned the top position in the Wholesaler category. The company employs an estimated 8,000 people and generates more than R20-billion in revenue.

In the 1970s, Makro was the first retailer in South Africa to use new technology from IBM to manage inventory and sales.

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