On paper, the Carrefour operation has everything of an offensive to strengthen the purchasing power of a retail group. But above all we should see the “defense of those who try not to be left behind”, says Gaëlle Le Floch, marketing director of Kantar Worldpanel. The Carrefour group announced on Wednesday July 12 that it had signed an agreement with the shareholders of the Louis Delhaize group to buy cash from them its 60 Cora hypermarkets and its 115 Match supermarkets in France.
With this acquisition, which values the company at 1.05 billion euros, i.e. almost five times less than the turnover of these stores, Alexandre Bompard, CEO of the Carrefour group, underlines how much the latter “consolidates its leadership in food distribution”.
Admittedly, the distributor, whose sales reached 44 billion euros in France in 2022, thus gets its hands on a heavyweight in the supermarket, from the North to the Grand-Est in particular. From Villeneuve-d’Ascq (Nord) to Montbéliard (Doubs), the French are very familiar with its stores, which are always perfectly stocked with regional products. At the end of the operation subject to the approval of the Competition Authority, in the summer of 2024, Carrefour could switch these stores under its own brand. “The operation includes the acquisition of the premises of 55 hypermarkets and 77 supermarkets”, specifies the press release from the Carrefour group. By the way, Mr. Bompard makes sure to be master in the kingdom of shopping malls: Carmila, the property company in which Carrefour holds 36% of the capital, takes over 93% of the shares of Galimmo, at the head of the 52 small shopping centers adjacent to the hypermarkets Kora.
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It is “the first major acquisition in France for more than twenty years”, recalls Mr. Bompard in a press release, alluding, without however naming it, to the merger operation of Carrefour and Promodès in 1999 and their Carrefour and Champion brands, which was an industrial accident whose group with 90 billion euros euros is barely recovering. Despite growth of 3.4% in 2022 in France, its first market and its first source of operating profit (834 million euros), the group is still number two in France. And, since the surge in prices, the gaps are widening between the “signs that are doing well and those that suffer from strategic errors”notes Ms. Le Floch.
Do you sense timing
The shareholders of the Louis Delhaize group, the family of brothers Philippe and Jacques Bouriez, who died in 2014 and 2022, know this. It was time to sell Cora and Match. In fact, after Casino, during a failed raid in 2002, Carrefour and Intermarché coveted these brands “for several years, without wanting to meet the required price”, according to a banking source. But the current situation and the fall of Casino – within the framework of a procedure of conciliation of its financial debt with these creditors, the offers to take over the assets of the group must be submitted on July 14 and examined on July 17 – have probably convinced Pierre and François Bouriez, the sons of Philippe, to lower their ambitions and sell their company, born in Belgium in 1873. Especially since the format of the large hypermarket, paragon of Cora and Auchan, continues to weaken. The French prefer online or drive-thru sales (8%). The assets of the Louis Delhaize group therefore risked losing their value. “In short, it was now or never! »decodes an investment banker.
You have 32.02% .. “”.