Suppliers have hit out at loss-making wholesaler Makro Cash & Carry UK after it wrote to them asking for up to £2,000 to help fund the rollout and development of its website.

In December, Makro contacted customers with an update on the progress of its website, launched in November 2010, and asked for further support to help boost the offer.

However, The Grocer has learned that several customers have refused to stump up the contributions, which are understood to be based on turnover, claiming that Makro had failed to hit its own sales targets.

Despite more than halving pre-tax losses from £44.7m to £20m in the year to 31 December 2010, Makro’s sales fell 8.2% from £867.8m to £796.8m during the period following the closure of three depots - a decline that has prompted suppliers to question the benefits of ploughing more money into the company.

“They’re on their nth new management team and we keep being told ‘you must keep investing in us because Metro Group are behind us and we’re going to turn it around’, but our concern is the more they ask us to invest, the more risky it is that there won’t be a payback,” said one customer who had rejected the request.

Another supplier said: “We have been asked for £2,000 but we will not be paying it - doubtless that won’t be the end of it.”

A Makro spokeswoman said: “We’re not only very satisfied with the development of the new Makro web shop which continues to go from strength to strength, we’re also thrilled to be working closely with our suppliers who recognise the huge business opportunity this new sales channel is providing for their products.”

Makro’s new operations director Stephen Blan started work officially at the company this week, tasked with ensuring its 30 depots meet customer requirements. He is the second senior appointment at Makro since all but one member of its previous board of directors left the company in June last year.