The first Makro store in De Flinesstraat 9 Amsterdam, complete with a petrol station operated by PAM – SHV’s oil brand.

The first Makro

In 1968, SHV launches a revolutionary concept in wholesale consumer goods in the Netherlands: the ‘cash and carry’. Large warehouses, divided into clearly signposted aisles, allow retail and wholesale customers to browse a huge selection of products in the same way as high street consumers. Makro represents a daring move for SHV - and a leap into unknown territory.

A new wholesale formula

It’s the 1960s, the economy is booming. Shopping malls, warehouses, and supermarkets are quickly emerging to keep pace. Consumerism is big business – and SHV sees an exciting opportunity to branch out.

The concept of self-service wholesale is already proven in Germany, where METRO has been operating a chain of efficient cash and carry stores. SHV and METRO form a partnership to open a similar wholesale chain in the Netherlands, with METRO retaining a minority share in exchange for its market expertise. And so SHV introduces cash and carry to the Netherlands under its own brand: Makro.

Makro represents a completely new field of business for SHV. It’s a risky step, with even renowned consultancy McKinsey advising against it. But accepting new challenges is an integral part of the company’s DNA.

All well and good, but this is our money. We take our chances.
Jan Fentener van Vlissingen, director of SHV responds to the fears of McKinsey.
The ‘Makrokrant’ (Makro newspaper), launched in October 1968 for the opening of the first store.
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