Makro Cash & Carry has posted a massive full-year loss of £45m as it continues to restructure operations.

New accounts filed at Companies House this week revealed the troubled wholesaler posted a loss of £44.7m in the year to 31 December 2009, widening from £26.7m the year ­before.

Some £22m of exceptionals were included in the losses, relating to costs associated with closing three of its depots and making a raft of head office redundancies. Without the exceptionals, losses would actually have fallen by £4m.

Sales were also down, however, by 3.5% to £868m. Footfall, too, declined, by 4.7%, with non-food sales down 11.4%. However, food sales rose 4% and the company said it had seen strong growth among its hotel, restaurant and catering customers, particularly in fresh food.

Although Makro insisted it was "well positioned for the future", industry experts warned there would soon be little option for Makro but for its German parent company Metro Group to quit the UK. "Metro said it was committed to the business until 2011, which gave assurance," said one senior industry source. "Now the inter-group debts are higher and the losses are worse. Unless Metro supports it, the business is not viable."

Makro MD Hannes Floto insisted the results reflected "a substantial step forward" in its business.

"It marks a considerable improvement in operating profit, driven by a more efficient organisation, a strategic refocus on the catering professional and a ­competition-busting offer on fresh," he said.

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