Amazon targets French grocery market with Monoprix deal

U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon has made further inroads into food retail in France as Casino’s upmarket Monoprix chain became the first local retailer to agree to sell groceries via Amazon.

The move, which is set to shake up the competitive French food retail market, lifted Casino shares as much as 9.7 percent in morning trade amid speculation that it could lead to a bigger deal later on.

Amazon’s purchase of the bricks-and-mortar retailer Whole Foods Market Inc for $13.7 billion last year, and a deal for Amazon Prime to sell products from the British supermarket chain Morrisons, raised expectations that it would bid for a retailer or form a partnership in France.

Casino and Amazon said late on Monday that groceries sourced from Monoprix would be available in the Amazon Prime Now app and website through a dedicated virtual store.

The deal is limited to the lucrative Paris market and its suburbs, though Monoprix CEO Regis Schultz told a conference call that an extension to other parts of France could not be ruled out.

Asked if the partnership paved the way to other deals with Amazon, Schultz said: “We do not discuss the future.”

Monoprix is one of France’s best-known store chains, with a network of nearly 800 upmarket stores in more than 250 cities. It has a strong focus on quality and fresh products in the mould of Whole Foods, and is a key contributor to Casino group profit.

“We consider the Monoprix product selection as exceptional,” Amazon France CEO Frederic Duval said during the call.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but Schultz said a model where Monoprix does the picking of the order in store and Amazon takes care of delivery was a “profitable” one for Monoprix.

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