The uncertainty surrounding the future of the supermarket chain Makro Cash & Carry Belgium is keeping suppliers away and many shelves remain empty, notes ACV Puls/CNE union representative Johan Van Loon. It is especially the fresh products which must be transported every day which are lacking, according to him.
CEO Vincent Nolf confirms supply problems, but points out that on Monday the biggest shortages – in fruit and vegetables – had been resolved.
In early September, the company filed a request for judicial reorganization proceedings. The company court has yet to rule, but suppliers seem skeptical. Both staff and customers are upset to find themselves in front of empty shelves. Last weekend, the Makro in Machelen had to remain closed. On Monday, the six Makro in Belgium were well open, according to Mr. Van Loon. This was confirmed by the CEO.
But customers may well not return and the chain could then experience greater problems. The situation could also weigh on the group’s financially sound entities, such as the horeca distributor Metro. “Here too, the shelves are far from being filled, whereas professionals come there precisely for fresh products”, underlines the representative of the Christian union.
Unexpected side effect
Due to the attention generated by the chain’s situation, many customers have flocked to Makro stores. Contradictory, when we know that many shelves are still empty.
“We see customers coming back who haven’t been here for a long time, but who are now coming back to shop. There are even new customers, ”says an employee to our colleagues from the Nieuwsblad, explaining that most are looking for good deals. According to the staff, however, no additional action or promotion is on the agenda.
The Antwerp company court on Wednesday accepted Makro Cash & Carry Belgium’s request to open a judicial reorganization procedure by transfer of companies under judicial authority (PRJ), the supermarket chain said on Wednesday.
The company had announced the introduction of this request on September 1 due to its financial difficulties. The procedure makes it possible to transfer all or part of the company’s activities to another entity and to safeguard employment in viable activities.
Makro Cash & Carry Belgium adds that “several serious parties” have expressed their interest in acquiring the activities of Metro, certain activities of Makro or Makro stores.
The court has now appointed a court-appointed attorney to manage the steps involved in transferring the viable business operations, including the assets and personnel involved.
Makro Cash & Carry Belgium has 17 stores in Belgium: 11 Metro and 6 Makro. Some 2,000 people work for the group.
The 17 stores of the brand, owned for decades by the German group Metro AG, were sold last June to the holding company Bronze Properties.