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.
The latter hopes that the company court of Antwerp will not delay in handing over its decision and will grant protection against creditors. “The decision must fall this week at the latest, according to him. If the request for judicial reorganization is accepted, a legal representative will be appointed and will oversee the next steps in the transfer of activities. The procedure could last 4 to 6 months.
The ECO also expects the situation to change quickly. “It’s only a matter of days,” he said on Monday. He adds that this is a continuity procedure during which stores will remain open as usual. “But until there is certainty, I understand the concern of staff and some of our suppliers. »
Makro Cash & Carry Belgium has 17 stores in Belgium: 11 Metro and 6 Makro. Some 2,000 people work for the group.
“The store cannot be saved, please stop now!” »
This complicated situation, the staff of Makro suffers the full force. Our colleagues from the Nieuwsblad went to the Deurne store where the employees clearly show their fed up. Out of breath, they feel helpless against the increasingly empty shelves. “People are fighting fatigue,” said a staff member. “This store is not just a place where we work. It was ‘our Makro’, our second home, our family. Management took that feeling away from us,” she adds.
She regrets the way history has unfolded in recent years leading to the current situation. “I am angry that many staff members will not receive real severance pay. Because after the bankruptcy there will not be enough money. This story does not end fairly. »
For another employee, the uncertainty is too great. “I’m fed up,” he says. “The staff fought so hard for the store. But now we say it loud and clear: please let it stop. Makro is a faded glory. It is no longer possible to save this store. »