Intermarché and Auchan to buy more than 300 Casino stores in France

‘It's the worst Christmas present the staff could have had,’ said a representative of the CGT union, saying workers will not ‘let themselves be thrown away without reacting’

A view of a Casino logo sign on a supermarket roof
The Casino group - which is struggling with €6b in debt - has announced plans to sell almost the entirety of its stores
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The Intermarché group, in partnership with Auchan, is to buy more than 300 Casino-branded hypermarkets and supermarkets.

In a statement released on December 18, the Casino group said: “The Casino group, on the one hand, and Groupement Les Mousquetaires and Auchan Retail, on the other, announce that they have entered into exclusive negotiations today with a view to the Casino group selling almost all of its hypermarkets and supermarkets to Groupement Les Mousquetaires and Auchan Retail, on the basis of a fixed enterprise value of €1.35 billion (excluding property).”

The Intermarché-Auchan offer was higher than that tended by Lidl, and Carrefour, which had previously also been in the running for the purchases, it said.

The full deal “represents 313 shops”, said Casino, representing a turnover of €3.6 billion.

It added: “The project remains subject to the conclusion of a binding agreement between the parties, which could be reached before the end of the first quarter of 2024 and of which the market will be kept informed.”

Auchan and Intermarché stated: “By joining forces to buy the Casino shops, Auchan and Les Mousquetaires [Intermarché] are supporting a project with 100% French capital, a project which will also strengthen French food sovereignty and support for the farming industry and various regions.”

Spiralling debt

It comes after Casino announced in May this year that it was selling 119 shops to Intermarché, with the first of the sales scheduled for October, and the second group expected within the next three years.

Read more: Intermarché set to buy more than 100 stores of French rival Casino

But in November, Casino said it would need to sell even more shops, to deal with the lack of expected improvement in sales, and its continued €6 billion in debt.

The group is currently undergoing a safeguarding procedure in order to restructure its debt.

In response to the sales news, Michel Rieux, CGT deputy central union delegate for the Casino group, told FranceInfo on December 7: "It's the worst Christmas present the staff could have had.”

The union has already organised several strikes and marches against the move, and Mr Rieux said that the union members “blame Jean-Charles Naouri”, the managing director of the Casino group. He said: “Mr Naouri is the only one responsible for this debacle.”

He continued: “If the supermarkets and hypermarkets are sold, what will happen to the warehouses? We have the right to ask questions about what will happen to our headquarter, warehouse, supermarket and hypermarket staff.

“We have had such catastrophic results in the supermarkets that it is not impossible that there could be some sudden closures of shops, and loss of jobs,” he said. “Of course we’re worried. I think the anger will build over the next few days…workers will not just let themselves be thrown away without reacting.”

In its statement on Monday (December 18), Casino said that “all shop employees…[will be] taken on” by the new stores.

Intermarché and Auchan said that they intend to “invest in these outlets and ensure their long-term future, supported by stable, long-term governance (members and employee or family shareholders)”, and would meet with “the trade unions shortly”.

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