Makro Cash & Carry insists it is on target to reduce its losses to less than £20m this year.

Accounts posted at Companies House earlier this month revealed Makro had recorded a loss of £26.7m in the year to 31 December 2008, up from £19.4m the year before. Although food sales rose 4.1% over the period, overall sales fell 2.6% to £899m.

However, staff were told at a briefing last week that it was on course to slash its losses to about £19m for the year to December 2009.

The wholesaler refused to comment on the staff briefing, but said in a statement: "To help achieve our mission of being the first choice cash & carry wholesaler in the UK, CEO Hannes Floto has recently encouraged all staff to build on the strong sales development we've achieved with our hotel, restaurant and catering customers in 2009 so far."

The wholesaler also denied industry speculation that it was planning to sell its depot in Aberdeen. It closed three depots in Swansea, Wolverhampton and Coventry this May.

Its 2008 accounts were prepared on a going concern basis after parent company Metro Group pledged to financially support Makro for at least the next 12 months.

Makro said this demonstrated it had a "strong future". However, a major supplier was less sure. "I can't see them lasting longer than the end of next year," he said. "They're being beaten at one end of the market by Costco and at the other by Booker."

Meanwhile, a Makro worker slammed the wholesaler for buying 120 new Makro-branded Ford Fiestas for its customer consultants. "One minute they're saying they're skint and the next they're shelling out on cars," he said. "There have been 200 to 300 jobs lost, we've got no pay rise, and three depots have been shut. It just doesn't add up."

Makro defended the new cars. "Customer consultants are being provided with a car so that they can also visit customers at their premises to truly understand their needs."

Read more
Makro claims it is on road to recovery as food sales rise 4.1% (7 November 2009)
Makro is in it for the long haul as depot refit plan continues (29 August 2009)