In a bid to improve availability Makro Cash & Carry UK is to draw on lessons learnt by its parent Metro Group.

It is installing a procurement system, similar to one used by Metro in Germany, that allows it to take delivery of lines from all suppliers at a central warehouse. From there it can distribute to its 33 depots, where previously suppliers delivered direct to depots.

The system would enable Makro to get a better grip of its supply chain, said MD Hannes Floto. "This means we can be sure we are delivering full truckloads to our stores and also reduces our environmental impact."

Customer service, including availability, is a key priority as Makro seeks to grow sales after a flat 2005 - the most recent period for which figures are available. Makro also plans to increase staff numbers in all depots while providing more training. "We have listened to our customers," said Floto. "They told us they want better service and more staff."

Price is another focus, said Floto, who added that Makro would roll back prices to ensure consistent value.

Sales at the Charlton and Rayleigh depots, which were remodelled last year, have outperformed expectations with triple-digit growth in some categories, he said. Makro will revamp two more depots this year in Glasgow and Birmingham.

Makro recorded a profit of £6.1m on a £1.1bn turnover in 2005, and is seventh in The Grocer's Big 30 ranking of leading wholesalers.