Groupe Casino's Monoprix to acquire online shoe retailer Sarenza

French retail chain Monoprix said today (Monday) that it is moving a step closer to providing its customers with a complete eCommerce offering after entering into negotiations to acquire online shoe retailer Sarenza.

Sarenza sells approximately 650 brands and 40,000 designs online, and the company generated more than €250 million in sales before returns during its last fiscal year.

Monoprix, which is a subsidiary of Groupe Casino, said completion of the acquisition will enable the business to combine its fashion, home and beauty offer with the “eCommerce knowhow of Sarenza” and help it become an “omnichannel lifestyle leader”.

The move comes during a time of significant merger and acquisition activity around the world, as larger, traditional retail businesses look to digital players to inject greater innovation and flexibility into their operations.

Walmart in the US is adopting a similar strategy, with the recent takeovers of and Bonobos, and reports this week suggest the grocer is in talks to acquire a significant stake in Indian eCommerce company Flipkart. Last week Burberry announced a strategic partnership with Farfetch, which will see its products sold via the luxury online fashion house.

And in 2015 the UK's Majestic Wine acquired Naked Wines to accelerate its digital proposition. There are multiple other examples of larger organisations following this model as they embark on their respective digital transformation strategies.

Monoprix also recently signed a significant partnership agreement itself. A deal with online grocer Ocado will see it outsource the running of its food eCommerce operation to the UK-based company.

Régis Schultz, chairman of Monoprix, commented: “In our city-centre locomotives stores, Monoprix uniquely combines a food offering, a non-food offering and innovative services.

“It is perfectly logical to recreate this complete offering online. After the agreement with Ocado last November, which reinforces our leading status on food delivery, Monoprix will position itself, with Sarenza, as a major player in non-food eCommerce.”

Stéphane Treppoz, chairman and CEO of Sarenza, added: “We are very pleased with this integration project, allowing us to join a major distribution group and to expand our product offering by leveraging the expertise of Monoprix, one of the most cutting-edge, innovative and popular brand among French people.”

Both parties expect to complete the transaction in the coming weeks, although a final deal remains subject to the consultation of employee representative bodies, and approval by the French Competition Authority.