Continuing a busy start to 2017 for the retailer globally, Auchan France has announced two initiatives aimed at improving stores and enabling it to invest in prices.
Auchan Retail France to invest €1.3 bn over three years
Auchan Retail France’s executive chairman, Patrick Espasa, has announced that the retailer will invest €1.311 bn to accelerate the pace of store updates under the ‘one brand strategy’. 60% of the figure will be spent on its stores in France. The money will be used to quicken the pace of the rebranding of Simply Market stores to Auchan Supermarché, A2Pas to MyAuchan and Chronodrive to Auchan Drive. A further 10% of the figure will be invested in the digitisation of its operations.
Following the announcement, rather than trialling different solutions over the course of 2017, the retailer is now aiming to rebrand all its supermarkets and convenience stores during the year. To support the ‘one brand’ efforts, Espasa also said that centralised support functions for all four brands – Auchan, Auchan Supermarchés, My Auchan and Auchan Drive and Direct – will be being combined in one office, in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, by 2019. To take this step, Auchan will invest €20m in the office’s modernisation.
Auchan, Schiever and Système U create new ‘Alliance’
Separately, Auchan Retail France, its regional partner Schiever and Système U confirmed that they will create a joint venture, which will be called Alliance, that will lead to the formation of a buying office in France.
The creation of a joint buying arrangement is a development on the present arrangement, under which Système U has simply entrusted Auchan to negotiate on its behalf. The formation of Alliance comes after the two organisations called off a proposed merger. The creation of ‘Alliance’ will be notified to the Competition Authority in early March.