The deal is finally done: three French retail groups team up to acquire 288 Casino stores for 1.35 billion euros. New in the endeavour is Carrefour, which takes over 26 stores.
French map redrawn
The French supermarket landscape has been radically redrawn: after six weeks of negotiations, Casino is ceding 98 stores to Auchan and 190 to Intermarché. Surprisingly, the latter is immediately passing on 26 stores on to Carrefour. 12,000 employees in stores and 2,000 more in warehouses are involved.
For the new owners, the deal means huge leaps forward: Intermarché now has 10 % more shops, Auchan as much as 20 % more, including 25 hypermarkets. Both parties also take over warehouses: one goes to Auchan, three to Intermarché.
Geographically, they have chosen regions where they were less present until now: Intermarché is strengthening in the east and in Paris, while northern France’s Auchan is adding quite a few branches in the south (such as on the Côte d’Azur and around Bordeaux), trade magazine LSA reports.
Open as early as July
Intermarché expects to increase sales per square metre by more than half over the next four years, with a potential sales increase of 2.6 billion euros. Meanwhile, Auchan expects to integrate the first shops as early as 1 July and is mainly counting on a larger market share.
However, they still have to deal with the unions first. The buyers have had to promise to take over all employment contracts and keep the same conditions for at least fifteen months. This is quite a challenge for Intermarché in particular, as unlike Casino, that group operates purely under franchise. A first meeting with the social partners will be held on 1 February.