Italian supermarket chain Conad strengthens its position in Northern Italy through the acquisition of 1600 stores, including 46 hypermarkets, from Auchan. The French chain needs this transaction, pending the approval of the Italian competition authorities, to go through after a billion euro loss last year.
Auchan Retail and Italian co-operative retail group Conad have reached an agreement today concerning the sale of almost all activities of Auchan Retail Italia, the latter announced in a press release. Auchan is (or was) strongly anchored in Italy, with 1600 sales points of various kinds (hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores). Those outlets are operated under the brand names Auchan and Simply, some managed by the chain and others by franchisees. Geographically, the store network is complementary with Conad's.
The supermarkets of Auchan Retail in Sicily and the drugstores of Lillapois are not included in the deal, which also does not cover sales points in shopping centres: those will continue to be managed by Ceetrus, which will be continuing its activities in Italy. Ceetrus is the real estate division of the Auchan group, previously called Immochan.
"By combining Conad's and Auchan's expertise, we want to improve the difficult situation of Auchan Italy and allow Conad to continue its ambitious plans. For the staff, it is a chance to join an Italian player with a strong commercial dynamic," said Edgar Bonte, president of Auchan Retail.
Auchan is going through a difficult time: the French group suffered a 1.1 billion euro loss in the past financial year and has recently announced a major reorganisation in France.