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Casino targets 30% of sales online by 2021 through “digitalisation of customer relationships”

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France’s Casino wants 30% of its sales to be online in three years, as it cuts back its store estate and pivots to digital.

The French retail giant saw net sales rise 4.7% on an organic basis to €36.6 billion in 2018, although they fell 2.4% on a reported basis due to currency fluctuations. Trading profit was up 9.8% organically but fell 0.3% on a reported basis.

Ecommerce was responsible for 18% of sales in total or around €6.6 billion. This includes the company’s Cdiscount site, with sales up 2.6% year-on-year to around €2 billion, with 50% of this through the site’s marketplace.

Casino is cutting stores, announcing last week that it had sold off 13 Géant Casino, three Hyper Casino and 10 Supermarkets Casino properties. The company wants to reduce the proportion of hypermarkets and move towards more profitable stores, as 60% of sales are generated by its 7500 premium and convenience stores.

It has also achieved 10 million downloads of its mobile apps, including adding omnichannel features such as the Scan & Go tool on Monoprix and Casino Max apps. Scan & Go has been introduced in a third of the store base and will be available in all stores by end-2019.

It also says it wants to establish leadership in home delivery through its Ocado and Amazon Prime Now partnerships. Online food sales totalled €300 million, with the aim being to increase this to €1 billion by 2021.

This means it is lagging behind rival Carrefour, which has confirmed a goal to net €5 billion in food ecommerce sales by 2022 after the category grew strongly last year. The supermarket chain revealed online food sales hit €1.2 billion in 2018, up over 30%.

Jean-Charles Naouri, chairman and CEO of Casino Group said: “2018 marks the successful completion of the Group’s transformation plan launched four years ago. In Latin America, our subsidiaries continued to record an excellent performance driven by Cash & Carry and the revitalisation of the other formats. In France, the Group is fully committed to its trajectory of continuous improvement in profitability.

“Our capital structure has been strengthened with the significant reduction in debt and we are planning further debt reduction this year. Our business model is now well positioned for the profound changes that are taking place in the retail sector.

“Our strategic leadership will be further enhanced over 2019-2021 with an increased focus on profitable formats, accelerated development of our digitalisation programme and ecommerce offering, and the expansion of new businesses which benefit from the Group’s assets and expertise.”

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