PARIS — Monoprix has entered exclusive negotiations to buy online shoe seller Sarenza, the latest move in an industry where digital prowess is increasingly becoming a matter of survival.The French retailer, which sells a mix of groceries, clothing and home goods in city centers, including a bridal line from haute couture designer Alexis Mabille in March, said the acquisition would complement its push online.“By acquiring Sarenza and its expertise, Casino Group will consolidate its position as the French leader in urban online retail,” said Jean-Charles Naouri, chairman and chief executive officer of Monpoprix owner Casino Group. The executive has over the years focused on the group’s smaller, convenience store formats, reflecting a shift in consumption as people spend less time browsing the aisles of suburban big-box stores.“This transaction places Monoprix at the edge of the fashion and home online retail,” Naouri added in a statement.The purchase comes after a string of Monoprix partnerships, including one with Ocado, a British online food delivery company, even as domestic rival Carrefour SA forges its new strategy by teaming up with a number of online players.Monoprix executive Régis Schultz billed the Sarenza transaction as the nonfood counterpart to the Ocado deal.“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 nonfood e-commerce,” he said.Sarenza generated 250 million euros in sales before returns in 2017 and offers more than 40,000 designs and 650 brands, including Puma, Nike, New Balance and Adidas, delivering items in 24 hours and allowing 100 days for returns. It is present in 30 countries around Europe.Casino did not provide financial details for the acquisition, which remains subject to approval by the French competition authority and employee representative bodies of Monoprix and Sarenza.
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