The E22.8bn company operates more than 6,000 stores in France, which accounts for 77% of sales, under fascias including Geant, Supermarchés Casino, Leader Price, Franprix and Monoprix. It also has outlets in Poland, Asia, Latin America and the US. The convenience and discount formats, which include supermarkets, superettes and Monoprix, account for 70% of operating income from French activities, making the development of these formats a key element in the group’s strategy.
Following strong year-end results in March, which reflected growth for the eighth consecutive year, Casino is accelerating its expansion plans. It hopes to increase space by 18% within the next three years, an addition of 500,000 sq m.
More than 60% of this new space will come from the discount and convenience formats, a total of 320,000 sq m. With such a diversified business operating across several countries and different retail platforms, updating IT is essential.
As customer care director Philippe Marxgut says: “With Casino buying companies every year we are regularly faced with the decision as to which IT system to adopt. We need something flexible.”
According to Marxgut, who is a keynote speaker at next week’s Global Retail Technology Forum in Paris, Casino recently faced a major challenge ­ whether to keep on evolving the existing home-made softwares or launch an aggressive IT master plan using solutions available from the shelves, choosing the best IT systems for each business need. At the forum, Marxgut will explain the processes Casino went through before choosing a solutions provider. “We now have 80% of the development done and most of the specifications finished,” says Marxgut.
Moving to a new IT platform is a major challenge for any company, but Casino is keen to be seen as progressive. Last month it opened a new store concept at Nîmes, comprising much interactive technology and a new approach to layout. With growth targets in excess of 6% projected for 2003, despite global economic uncertainty, and operating income from existing operations expected to achieve levels similar to 2002, Casino is playing for high stakes.