Auchan Buys Real

The Real Deal

The Real Deal

At the end of 2012, French Group Auchan S.A. signed an agreement with the German Metro Group to purchase ninety-one Real supermarkets in Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine, for the sum of €1.1bn. The final transactions are to take place in Poland due to delayed approval by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), granted only last January. Before the names are changed on all supermarkets, the new owner wants to significantly lower its store lease payments. “Lowering lease payments with the owners of the buildings where Real leases retail space is crucial,” admits Francois Colombie, head of the Auchan supervisory board for Poland, Russia and Ukraine. He emphasises that the leasing costs today amount up to 10% of the group’s revenue while the market average is 3% to 4% at the maximum. “Therefore, we are negotiating substantial cuts in lease payments. We have reached agreements with the first twelve locations and we would like to complete the process by June,” adds Colombie. Out of the first fifty-seven Real stores, seventeen own the buildings where the company leases retail space. The first Real stores to change the name signs to Auchan are located in Opole and Dąbrowa Górnicza, in the province of Upper Silesia and both belong to the BlackRock Fund. The name change will soon take place in Gdynia, at the Riviera shopping centre, owned by the Mayland Company, and in eight other Real stores in M1 centres around Poland. The whole consolidation process should take about two years. Auchan is set to spend over €30m on store rebranding alone.

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