Convenience at a cost

With the 2nd outlet of Makro opened in city-center, the store attracts more than a handful of shoppers eager to experience the convenience and price advantage or shopping at a hyper-market.

My review is based on a personal experience of 2 visits, some shopping, and comparison with other international hyper-market chains.

While the concept of hyper-markets is relatively new in Pakistan, we have seen convenient stores like Naheed’s, Agha’s and D-Mart spread across the city, hence the shopping experience is not so new.

I had heard about Makro from friends and family, but had never visited the original SITE branch as it was too cumbersome. However, I visited the Shahra-e-Faisal branch twice in a week.

I had heard about Makro from friends and family, but had never visited the
original SITE branch as it was too cumbersome. However, I visited the
Shahra-e-Faisal branch twice in a week.

Having lived in UAE for quite sometime, I was already comparing Makro to a
well-known hyper-market in Dubai, the Carrefoure

As I entered the parking lot, it reminded me of Dubai, with ample parking
space. Even the store itself is properly organized in aisles and sections and
display racks. There is a lot of floor space to walk about leisurely and stuff
your cart with various items.

Product offering ranges from grocery items to household electronic items and
clothing. However, there seems to be a lacking in almost every category except
maybe the grocery side! For Example, electronics lack computer accessories.

I decided to check out every section and compare prices from our local
grocery shops. Over here, I would like to point out my first shock!

On my 1st visit, I had come across a "Power Station" for cars
(that incorporates an emergency jump-start battery and an air compressor in
one) that was tagged at Rs. 1,600. On my 2nd visit, the price had gone upto Rs.
2,325!

I compared various items from different categories. Here’s a comparison
chart:

Item

Price at Makro

Price at local store

Soya Supreme (10 ltr
tin)

970

970

Brooke Bond Supreme tea (3x bundle pack)

245

255

Pampers

166

161

Heinz baby food

63

60

Spray paint can(regular)

90

85

Spray paint can(chrome)

120

110

Large Pedestal Fan (aka chowkidar wala pankha)

2250

2100

WD-40 (Large)

199

225

So there you have it! As you can see, shopping at Makro is actually more
expensive than your local store, not to mention the traffic hassle to drive
there! Also, most of the local shops will home deliver the grocery items and
are mostly at a max of a couple of minutes walk from your home.

Internationally, I have NEVER seen the prices of items go up in
hyper-markets!

A couple of experiences that I’ve come across:

A friend bought a large tin of Tang, only to find out it was expired!

A family member bought frozen parathas that had fungus on them.

The Power Station that I bought for my car doesn’t work! I’m going to return
it today.

While I was shopping, another person was returning a portable vacuum cleaner
for cars.

Quality of other tools that I bought seems to be worse than 3rd grade china plastic!
My dremel polish brushes and grindstones seem to be "glued" to the
bits with glue smeared outside. I wonder how long they’ll stick!

My opinion, Makro is not worth the visit at all. Most you can do is visit
once to experience the leisurely placed aisles as seen in international
hyper-market!

A poor option in all respects!

16 Comments so far

  1. (w)hole LOTA love (unregistered) on November 10th, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

    chowkidar wala phanka! lolz

    brooke bond supreme aka marooh wali chai.


  2. llama (unregistered) on November 10th, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

    Thanks for ther review farrukh—it was indeed a shock to learn of the pricing structure. This is where i see KMB at its most useful honestly!


  3. mansoor (unregistered) on November 10th, 2007 @ 3:38 pm

    “While the concept of hyper-markets is relatively new in Pakistan” “While the concept of hyper-markets is relatively new in Pakistan” <== CSD has been operating as a hypermarket for decades. and is open to the general public for quite sometime.


  4. HASSAN' (unregistered) on November 10th, 2007 @ 3:44 pm

    well thats y i dont call it hyper mart coz prices never goes this much high at any cost. this is actually third class (by management) super store.


  5. Zainub (unregistered) on November 10th, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

    things aren’t as bad at the highway branch, i’m told.


  6. Farrukh Ahmed (unregistered) on November 10th, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

    Zainab, another worker who was attending me while I was returning my goods today also said that the other branch is much better. while I will try & visit the other branch to see for myself, what is more saddening is that such a huge setup can’t even manage consistency in products & services. Another reason I wouldn’t opt for Makro.


  7. Sufi (unregistered) on November 10th, 2007 @ 10:56 pm

    Farrukh, thanks for your detailed review, but I find your post very very biased. Though I prefer the local dukaanwala’s feel who deliver at my place, I believe that shopping at Makro (for a big family in my case, hence a big quantity) was relatively cheaper as compared to the local dukaanwalas. Luckily, I haven’t yet got any expired food either. And I haven’t shopped there a lot. But I still believe your review is biased as I know a lot of people [some wholesalers] who shop at Makro and are very satisfied.


  8. Zee (unregistered) on November 11th, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

    Makro is a good option if you are planning to buy groceries that are going to last 2 months at least. I found the discounts to be fairly decent and the place is not at all over expensive. You can never trust the local dukan walas for the cheap products they are selling. With Makro, you don’t have to worry about that and if you find something faulty, they’ll take it back and replace it. Local jahil pathan/maron/dagga dukan walas will NEVER do that


  9. Zara Ali (unregistered) on November 11th, 2007 @ 11:06 pm

    to all the avid shoppers of marko… how much do u rekon one ends up saving for a months grocery at such a store? the value of time vs the money saved weigable… i see going all the way to a designated store to shop a real nuisence…
    i can take a whole months grocery from my local dukaanwala on credit without having to pay anytin extra … does marko offer such facilities? ;p


  10. bluemax (unregistered) on November 12th, 2007 @ 1:03 am

    @Zara, “from my local dukaanwala on credit”. I have heard that Makro does not accept credit cards, can anyone please confirm. Btw the name says it all “Makro Cash & Carry”.


  11. Zara Ali (unregistered) on November 12th, 2007 @ 1:07 am

    @ bluemax
    i meant udhaar! :p


  12. Sufi (unregistered) on November 12th, 2007 @ 4:32 am

    For me, it wasn’t like going out of town to shop for Makro, I think it took me very less than 20 minutes to drive to Makro using the liaquatabbad underpass. I can’t really say how much you would be able to save. At Makro, I also found some local brands and products which dont advertise heavily. Whether I like those brands or not after trying them, at least now I have more choice of brands.


  13. xyz (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 1:21 pm
  14. Edward Louis (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

    I see a rather cynical approach of this gentleman who has posted this about Makro. It is not cumbersome for anyone to visit atleast this makro store which is just off Sharah-e-Faisal and quite correctly in the centre of the city. All of saddar is a stones-throw and so are other areas like DHA (5-10 minutes max), PECHS, Tariq Road etc. etc.

    The prices are pretty decent to say the least. INfact, there have been times that I have been amazed at the prices and how can they manage to offer goods at this price. This only goes on to show the retail margins that other retailers are keeping in the grocery store industry in Pakistan.

    The ignorance of the individual who has posted this is evident from the fact that this is not a hyper-market. Thats right! There’s a fundamental difference in hypermarkets and a whole-sale store this is Makro.

    Hyper-markets like Geant, Carre Forre & Wal-Mart SuperCentres offer exceptional size and choice of goods compared to other ordinary supermarkets. They also offer other periphery functions like bank counters, independant patisserie’s and delicatasein (no I don’t know these spellings).

    Whole-stores on the other hand offer goods packaged in bulk. They may not offer too many goods of the same category but they are huge simply because they need to accomodate so much bulk in one facility. They also have their infrastructure developed in a manner that their storage handling is within the retail area of the store.

    Therefore, my dear friend, you have it all wrong. You’re better off doing something about your judgemental post and let others enjoy convinience and progress (regardless of what little that might be) in a country riddled with bad news at its highest level.

    And I should highlight here that I have no fidiciuary affiliation whatsoever with Makro.


  15. Nimal G Verho (unregistered) on November 21st, 2007 @ 11:14 am

    whole- sale stores like makro which are based on the lines of the american chain walmart, i feel are not suited to countries like pakistan where the middle-income group cannot afford everyday items in bulk even though they may be saving on their costs otherwise..the big amounts they might have to pay are too much too ask for, hence facilities like these are mostly restricted to the upper classes only..


  16. bluemax (unregistered) on November 21st, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

    In my opinion, Makro is not for you & me. Their primary target market consists of retailers, restuarants, etc (middle-income or upper class does not matter). How many of us go to JooRia bazaar for monthly groceries? I guess not many, same is the case with Makro. Yes, individuals can use the facility if they feel that they can get some benefits out of it (like I do). I do know middle class families who prefer to buy from Makro just becasue it is easy (like buying carton of milk, biscuit packs for kids’ lunch boxes).



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