PARIS — Carrefour said Monday it is in exclusive negotiations to acquire Rue du Commerce, an online retailer specializing mainly in electronics and homewares but also sells clothing and sporting goods.
The world’s second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart Inc. said the transaction would “accelerate its omnichannel strategy in France and strengthen its position in nonfood e-commerce by leveraging additional expertise.”
Rue du Commerce, which is heavily advertised on the Paris subways, receives five million unique visitors a month, with Carrefour touting its “strong brand, significant traffic and an extensive client base.”
In addition to appliances, hardware and furniture, the site boasts a fashion module selling clothes for women, men and children along with accessories, beauty products — and sex toys.
Brands sold on the site include Nike, Adidas, Kaporal, Levi’s, Pepe Jeans, Diesel, Guess, Christian Lacroix, Desigual, Lacoste and Armani Jeans.
Discussions involve acquiring all shares of Rue du Commerce from real estate giant Altarea Cogedim, and Carrefour noted the transaction is subject to the approval of employee representatives and antitrust authorities.
Carrefour reported an up-and-down performance in the first half of the year, negatively impacted by slowing sales in France and China but helped by strong growth in Spain and Latin America. Meanwhile, profits rose sharply in European countries except France.
The retailer, in the midst of a turnaround plan initiated by chief executive officer Georges Plassat in 2012, is starting to reap the results of its drive to diversify with new formats like convenience stores, which has taken the onus off hypermarkets to deliver results.
The retailer has pulled out of countries where it did not have a leadership position or a prospect of achieving sizable market share. In parallel, it has revamped activities in Europe by cutting prices, diversifying stores and streamlining internal operations.