French retailers Intermarché and Groupe Casino have now officially started the partnership, which they had announced earlier this year. The launch is part of the radical redesign that the European purchasing landscape is undergoing.
Purchasing, services and media
In April this year, the French retail groups announced that they would not only be purchasing together, but also join forces in developing digital services and producing private labels. This project is now concrete and has been named Auxo, after the goddess of summer in Greek mythology, who personifies growth, expansion and progress.
More specifically, the retailers are launching two purchasing centres: one for food, led by Intermarché, and one for non-food, led by Casino. Outside France, the partners set up an organisation that offers international services to large industrial groups active in Europe and Latin America. It is called Global Retail Services and is based in Brussels. Finally, there is the Infinity Advertising joint venture, which presents brands a highly digitised retail media offering.
Auxo will focus on working with a limited number of suppliers who play a key role due to their geographical footprint and who individually have a dominant position in a large number of product categories. The partnership is set up for a period of five years. Intermarché and Casino will continue to operate completely independently of each other in terms of all other purchasing, marketing, pricing, promotions and expansion.
Auxo's start is a new chapter in the story of European retail alliances. In March this year, Intermarché left the Agecore retail alliance, while Casino ended Horizon, the alliance with Auchan, Metro, Dia and Schiever. With the implosion of both purchasing groups, a game of musical chairs has begun. Edeka - also a former member of Agecore - has meanwhile set up the international purchasing alliance Epic Partners in cooperation with Picnic, Biedronka, ICA, Jerónimo Martins, Magnit and Migros.
The big question now is what the remaining Agecore members intend to do: after the departure of the two largest members, Colruyt, Conad, Coop and Eroski are left orphaned with a lack of real clout. To be continued...