Pre-tax losses at Makro Self Service Wholesalers have more than halved as the wholesaler continues to turn around its business.

Losses shrunk from £44.7m to £20m in the year to 31 December 2010, according to accounts filed at Companies House. But sales fell 8.2% from £867.8m to £796.8m following the closure of three depots.

“This reflects a reduced store network, a strategic refocus away from non-core customers and an extremely difficult trading environment, including the VAT increase in January, extreme weather at the start of the year and in the critical pre-Christmas trading period,” wrote company secretary David Wilson. “In addition, the macroeconomic situation has made customers reticent to make big ticket purchases.”

Although “total buying customer footfall” was down 9% on the year, sales to its core hotel, restaurant and catering (HoReCa) customers were up 6%. Visits by HoReCa customers, especially pubs, nightclubs and takeaways, rose 5.3%.

Wilson added that Makro would concentrate on four key areas: “rebalancing the company’s activities with more focus on the needs of the customer”; rationalising its range and make its supply chain more efficient; further store investment; and increasing its focus on foodservice delivery and e-commerce. It has already launched a new transactional website and a foodservice delivery offer over the past year.

The accounts also revealed that Makro would continue to be supported by its German parent Metro Group until at least September 2012.

In a statement, a Metro Group spokeswoman said: “Makro UK is focused on ambitious plans for the future and to ensuring that our customers have the best possible solutions in our stores and online.

“We are already seeing positive changes within the company and our new senior management team and colleagues are dedicated to ensuring that the turnaround strategy reaches its full potential and that Makro returns to a strong position in the market.”