The history of METRO/MAKRO

Founded in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany in 1964, METRO Cash & Carry’s concept was revolutionary at the time: professional customers could select their own purchases all under one roof, pay for them in cash and take the items with them. Over 50 years on, METRO is a leading international wholesale company, with food and non-food assortments specialised in serving the needs of hotels, restaurants and caterers (HoReCa) as well as independent merchants (Traders). Around the world, METRO has some 17 million customers who benefit from our unique multichannel mix.

2020 – 2000


METRO supports millions of its hospitality customers around the world with dedicated measures, digital tools, public initiatives and solidarity campaigns in the face of COVID-19 pandemic that has brough about restrictions and severe adverse impact on the gastro sector.


The market entry into Myanmar is completed by opening its 1st delivery depot outside Yangon. METRO agrees to sell a majority stake in METRO China to Wumei Group to form a new joint venture in which METRO will hold 20% shares.


METRO launches a new global brand campaign focusing even more strongly on customers. The new claim "Your Success is our Business" underscores the brand's ambition.


METRO’s first “zero energy” store is opened in St. Pölten in Austria, with a range of well-designed energy-saving and green applications installed throughout the store for the commitment of sustainability.


METRO’s Own Business Day, an annual global event to celebrate independent businesses, takes place for the first time ever in October and will continue every year on the 2nd Tuesday of each October.


METRO introduces the New Operating Model to give each country subsidiary more entrepreneurial freedom and greater responsibility for operational functions.


METRO Cash & Carry celebrates its 50th birthday with its employees, clients and suppliers all over the world. METRO Cash & Carry renews it commitment of being “Champion for Independent Business”.


The company opens 750th store in Chongqing, China. With annual sales of more than €2 billion, the delivery service is one of our most successful sales concepts.


With annual sales of €31.6 billion and 743 locations in 29 countries, METRO Cash & Carry is the leading international player in wholesale. The expansion in China is being accelerated with 12 new openings in one year, a record for the wholesale company.


METRO Cash & Carry celebrates the opening of its 700th store, located in Istanbul. The company starts selling selected product ranges online in some countries. Trader franchise programme for small independent grocery shops kicks off in Poland under the brand “ODIDO”.


An innovative store format is added: city centre stores in Paris catering solely to Horeca customers. The concept is later rolled out to Rome and Madrid.


The company starts broadening its service portfolio, piloting a delivery service in Germany which is now available in 29 countries. It also launches a new own brand concept including six own brands focusing on key target groups. The company enters Kazakhstan.


METRO Cash & Carry opens the first store in Pakistan in Lahore. The company’s new opening in Aalborg, Denmark, sets new standards for environment protection and energy saving with extensive technological innovation.


METRO Cash & Carry enters Serbia.


The 40th anniversary sees the company operating over 500 wholesale stores in 27 countries.


METRO Cash & Carry enters Ukraine and India.


The company keeps an eye on the Asian markets: The first stores in Japan and Vietnam open.


METRO Cash & Carry starts trading with two stores in Russia. The country is one of the most promising Eastern European markets. By that time, the wholesale group already operates 15 stores in China.


The Slovakian market is added to the company’s country network.

Delivery Truck on Road

1999 – 1990


The first METRO Cash & Carry store in Bulgaria opens.


METRO Cash & Carry enters the Czech Republic. All Makro stores are integrated into the METRO Cash & Carry organisation.


METRO Cash & Carry starts out in the fast growing markets of the Far East. The international wholesale group is among the first foreign companies to obtain a licence for the country-wide expansion across China. The first METRO Cash & Carry store opens in Shanghai. In the same year, METRO Cash & Carry enters the Romanian market.

1996 also sees the birth of METRO GROUP, in which METRO Cash & Carry forms the largest sales line. The holding company METRO AG is listed on the German stock exchange.


METRO Cash & Carry is one of the first international trade groups to enter Eastern Europe. The wholesaler opens stores in Hungary and Poland.


With its market entry to Greece, METRO Cash & Carry is present in most of the member states of the European Union.


METRO Cash & Carry enters Turkey and Portugal.

External View of a Chinese Store in the Nineties

1989 – 1980


20 years after its formation, METRO Cash & Carry operates with more than 100 stores all over Europe.


The right products in the right place at the right time: METRO Cash & Carry was one of the first wholesalers in Germany to systematically manage its inventory electronically.

"Historical Store in Nanterre, France"

1979 – 1970


The company opens stores in Spain and Italy.


METRO starts wholesale operations in France, Austria and Denmark, partly under the brand name Makro.


The first Makro store in Belgium opens its doors. By that time, 13 METRO stores have opened in neighbouring Germany.

"Historical Store in Voesendorf, Austria"

1969 - 1964


With a Makro store in the Netherlands, METRO Cash & Carry takes the first step abroad, signing a partnership with the Dutch Steenkolen Handelsvereeniging.


The first METRO wholesale store opens in Mülheim/Ruhr, Germany.

First Store in Mühlheim