French supermarket chain Carrefour has entered a long-term alliance with Cora/Supermarchés Match, which will start on 1 January and will focus on joint purchases, although each party will keep its independence.
Carrefour and Cora/Match's purchase alliance was officially announced yesterday and from 1 January onward, both distributors will purchase together, both nationally and internationally for both food and non-food. Distribution brands, products from SMEs and fresh farm products are not part of the deal.
"This agreement establishes a long-term partnership, with no equity ties between the two companies, under which both companies maintain their independence while committing to sustainable relationships with their suppliers. The agreement will enhance the competitiveness of their banners for the benefit of consumers", the statement said.
Carrefour has 10,600 stores in 30 countries and is the world's second largest distributor and Europe's largest. Its turnover reached 100.2 billion euro in 2013, but it has faced huge competition and price margin pressure in its home market because of an incessant price war.
Auchan and Système U, numbers 5 and 6 in France, already joined purchasing forces in September, while Intermarché and Casino did similarly within a month after the first chains announced their deal. The Intermarché-Casino deal meant the group was now bigger than Carrefour (and number 2, E.Leclerc).
Cora is mostly active in the north and east of France, with 59 hypermarkets and a 5 billion euro turnover. Supermarchés Match has 140 supermarkets and a 1.2 billion euro turnover in France. Both brands, like Carrefour, are also active in Belgium, but it is unclear whether they will expand their alliance there as well.