Byline: Alicia Drake

PARIS — The American consolidation craze has spread to France, where two perfumery chains are set to merge.
Retailer Marcel Frydman, owner of the 48-door La Parfumerie chain, is buying out the 15-unit Bernard Marionnaud perfumery group, a pioneer in the French discounting business.
Philippe Charoing, managing director of the Marionnaud group, said a written agreement for the sale has been signed. The terms include the transfer of 96.5 percent of the Marionnaud shares, which is slated to take place Nov. 30.
Of the 96.5 percent being transferred, Marionnaud holds 86.8 percent of the shares while the French bank Societe Generale owns 9.7 percent. The remaining 3.5 percent is owned by an undisclosed French bank and employees of the chain. Frydman could not be reached for comment.
Bernard Marionnaud’s 15 self-service perfumeries in France have estimated annual sales of $117.6 million (600 million FF), while Marcel Frydman’s La Parfumerie has a volume of $68.6 million (350 million FF).
Marionnaud reportedly suffered particularly heavy losses during the general strikes in France just before Christmas last year. At the same time, the chain began going head to head with a handful of prestige manufacturers, who tried to ban deep discounting on their lines.
The brands, led by Parfums Christian Dior, were attempting to limit discounting of their products’ retail prices to about 15 percent. Marionnaud argued that vendors don’t have the right to fix prices, and Dior responded by delaying the shipment of its Dolce Vita fragrance initially.