The largest supermarket chain in Uzbekistan, Makro, just got bigger. The company opened 10 new stores Dec. 11 to celebrate the company’s 10-year anniversary. The retailer now includes 86 locations, with additional store openings to come before the year’s end.
The ribbon-cutting at the new stores, scattered across the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, marks an important milestone for a company that exemplifies the rapid growth of Uzbekistan’s retail market in recent years.
“We are proud to be pioneering modern food retail in Uzbekistan, the largest nation in Central Asia,” says Makro CEO Roman Sayfulin. “Every day Makro opens its doors to customers who are enjoying a modern retail experience for the first time. Our mission is to create a supermarket for Uzbeks of all walks of life, and win their loyalty through a combination of variety, quality, and affordability.”
The chain is expanding rapidly to address evolving consumer tastes, particularly through the rollout of new convenience store formats. Yet the company can barely keep up with demand, Sayfulin says.
Makro’s store network now extends far beyond Tashkent. Earlier this year, the company launched its e-commerce platform, adapting to the new market reality brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Uzbekistan, with a population of 34 million, is the most populous country in Central Asia and the third most populous in the former Soviet Union. The Uzbek consumer market is growing rapidly on the back of a growing population, rising incomes, and urbanization.
The World Bank forecasts that Uzbekistan will be only one of two countries in the entire Europe/Central Asia region to deliver positive GDP growth in 2020, with forecast growth of between 0.4% and 0.8%.
“Our company is just 10 years old. It is not even a teenager yet. We still have a lot to learn, but like any 10-year-old, our potential is limitless,” Sayfulin adds.