Due to their large size and real estate, Makro stores in South Africa are not easy to miss. The first one in South African opened in Germiston in 1971. This was the first warehouse store operation in South Africa, and Makro was also the first operation to use sophisticated tracking of stock and sales using technology from IBM.
Makro started as Dutch chain of warehouse shops (also known as “Cash and Carry” stores), the first opening in Amsterdam in 1968. In the following years, more Makro stores opened in the Netherlands and around Europe before extending its business to South Africa, Asia and the Americas in the 1970s and 1980s. The stores in North America, however, later closed their doors.
To gain entry into any Makro store, you need to be a registered member and have a card (except in Brazil and Pakistan).
The Massmart Company was established in South Africa in 1990.
At the time, there were 6 South African Makros that formed the cornerstone of the Mass mart business. Recently, in June 2011, 51% of Massmart was acquired by Walmart, who now have dominant interest and investment in all South African Makro stores.
Walmart is one of the largest retailers in the USA, and has extended its business as far as Japan and Mexico.
Today there are 18 Makro warehouse clubs around South Africa. The stores can be found in major metropolitan areas. Makro’s goal is to operate under a trading philosophy and low cost and low margin sales. Because they deal in high volume and bulk goods, they are able to offer their high volume merchandise at in competitive price ranges for quality brands.
In the second half of 2012, Makro developed and opened stores in Bloemfontein and Cape Gate. The chain is continually looking to expand their operations both in South Africa and across the country’s borders.
Makro locations in South Africa
- Centurion, PTA
- Crown Mines, JHB
- Germiston, JHB
- Silver Lakes, PTA
- Strubens Valley, JHB
- Vaal, Vanderbijlpark
- Wonderboom, PTA
- Woodmead, JHB
Western and Eastern Cape
- Cape Gate – Now Open!
- Montague Gardens, Cape Town
- Ottery, Cape Town
- Port Elizabeth, PE
- Pietermaritzburg, KZN
- Rossburgh, DBN
- Springfield, DBN
- Head Office, JHB
- Bloemfontein – Now Open!
What does Makro sell?
Makro deals in general merchandise, food, and liquor, priding itself in providing everything a customer needs less than one roof. Each store also contains a cash machine and a cafeteria selling hot food. In the food and liquor section, the store mainly deals in bulk purchases.
These serves traders such as convenience stores and newsagents, caterers and the hospitality industry, clubs and societies such as universities, schools, sports clubs and other association.
In the non-food section, one can find a range of other merchandise such as:
- DIY and hardware supplies
- Office and stationery supplies
- Computing and communication
- Electronic goods
- Furniture items
- Seasonal items such as garden furniture
- Home entertainment
- Small and large appliances
- Soft furnishing and home decor
- School equipment and uniforms
How to get a Makro card
If you are looking to buy a multitude of items less than one roof at very competitive prices, registering for a card will be worth your while. It doesn’t cost anything to join; you simply need to provide personal details and identification.
Once you have your Makro card, be sure to keep it somewhere accessible as you will need it every time you visit the store. You may also ask for a second card under your name for your spouse to keep on them to use. Makro locations may be located a little further from the city core sue to the space they require, so plan ahead for your shopping trip by visiting the Makro website or reading flyers to see what good deals are available at the time.
Remember that Makro sells a vast range of goods, so you may even find items that you weren’t expecting to see there. Give yourself some time so that you are able to browse the long aisles.