France’s Casino expands Amazon partnership with collect services

French supermarket group Casino and U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon said on Thursday they were expanding a tie-up for grocery deliveries in an online food retail market that has become increasingly competitive.

The Casino group caused a stir in 2018 when its upmarket Monoprix stores struck a deal with Amazon, considered one of the biggest rivals to retailers trying to boost their own e-commerce operations.

The latest partnership would affect Casino-branded stores, and involves the roll-out of new click-and-collect services for Amazon Prime members. It will kick off in July in the French cities of Annecy and Clermont-Ferrand, and 180 food collection points will be rolled out across France by the summer of 2022, the companies said.

The indebted Casino group and its rivals saw sales surge in France at the height of a first coronavirus lockdown in the spring of 2020, helped in part by customers shifting even more orders online.

The company, which is considering a share sale in its Cdiscount e-commerce unit among options to help trim its debts, reported slowing revenue growth earlier this year.

Its Casino-brand stores first struck a e-commerce partnership with Britain’s Ocado in 2017.

Rivals have also looked at tie-ups with tech giants, and Carrefour teamed up in 2018 with Google to boost its online shopping business. It also has delivery partnerships with the likes of Uber Eats and Deliveroo.