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Amazon strengthens ties with the French supermarket chain Casino

PARIS (Reuters) – E-commerce giant Amazon and the French retailer Casino expand their partnership with Amazon to install the pick-up of the lockers at the Casino, shops and many more of the French company’s products are available on Amazon.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen in the company’s logistics centre in Boves, France, 19 January 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

The movement, which follows the first collaboration between the Casino’s exclusive Monoprix supermarket chain and Amazon in Paris, could re-ignite speculation of a larger deal later on.

An Amazon spokeswoman said that it is a policy of not commenting on speculation. Amazon’s purchase of bricks-and-mortar AMERICAN supermarket chain Whole Foods Market in recent years has increased speculation it may seek to buy of a European food retailer.

The expanded partnership comes as a Casino, the sale of assets and the cutting of the debt try to refute investors ‘ concerns about the finances and that of the parent company Rallye.

The deal, unveiled on Tuesday, will see Amazon lockers installed in 1,000 locations in France, nine of the Casinos brands, including Monoprix, Monopolies, Geant, Hyper Casino, Casino Supermarche, Leaderprice, Viva and the Spar at the end of the year. The lockers store Amazon products to be picked up by the customers.

More Casino-branded products are also available at Amazon, while Amazon and Monoprix will expand their partnership on Amazon Prime Now delivery service is available outside of Paris and in new cities in the next twelve months.

“This announcement is a new step in the strengthening of the Casinos omnichannel strategy to always be a little bit more in the heart of consumers’ lives,” said Casino chief executive Jean-Charles Naouri, in a statement.

CASINO SHARES DIP

Nevertheless, Casino ‘s shares slipped 0.4 percent in early trading, after Standard & Poor’s lowering the credit rating on Casino ‘BB – negative outlook’ from ‘BB ‘ negative’, the push from the more to unwanted territory.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley also becoming an “underweight” rating on the Casino’s shares.

Monoprix, seen by analysts as similar to Whole Foods, started with the filling of orders for subscribers to the Amazon Prime loyalty program in parts of Paris, last September.

This partnership was closely watched Monoprix was the first French distributor agree in March 2018 to sell products via Amazon, caused a stir in the highly competitive domestic market.

France is in the Amazon, the third largest market in Europe, after great Britain and Germany. Amazon is the e-commerce leader in France with a market share of 17.3 percent, but the grocer’s market share is just 2 percent, according to Kantar data.

The AMERICAN group, which has its Amazon Prime-express-delivery service in Paris, since 2016, has made no secret of his desire to start a delivery service in France in the framework of its ambitions to expand in food retail.

But the French supermarket sector has powerful functions, such as Carrefour and Leclerc, who are at low margins and with a dense network of stores.

Earlier this week, Casino said it would sell 12 of Casino hypermarkets and 20 supermarkets to Apollo Global Management in a deal worth up to 470 million euros ($529 million).

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Mark Potter

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