An employee arranges sealed cardboard boxes for shipping at the new Amazon Inc. fulfilment center (Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg)

Amazon's French Delivery Deal Has Ripples All the Way to Brazil

(Bloomberg) -- Inc.’s delivery deal with Casino Guichard Perrachon SA advances the online retailer’s interests in Europe, but may also provide a foothold in South America.

Casino’s Brazilian unit, known as GPA, is in talks with Amazon on a potential partnership or other transaction that would expand the e-commerce giant’s presence in Latin America’s biggest market, Reuters said Tuesday. Officially called Cia. Brasileira de Distribuicao, GPA may consider selling the Via Varejo appliance and electronics chain to Amazon, the news agency said. GPA rose as much as 5.5 percent in Sao Paulo.

Amazon declined to comment. Casino, which had already announced plans to sell its controlling stake in Via Varejo, said it had nothing new to announce. GPA also said it had nothing material to say.

Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods Market Inc. in the U.S. and works with European grocers such as Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc in the U.K., is expanding beyond books and electronics sales into the trickier business of delivering food to homes. In the French deal announced Monday, groceries from Casino’s Monoprix stores will be sold via Amazon’s Prime Now service in Paris and the surrounding region, the companies said.

Casino has been building up its online operations, striking a deal with Ocado Group Plc in November to license the U.K. online grocer’s order fulfillment technology. In the Amazon partnership, Monoprix will provide items from its own stores and warehouses for the delivery service.

The agreement is “highly complementary” for the companies and their customers, Monoprix Chief Executive Officer Regis Schultz said on a call.

With a population of 67 million -- roughly that of California and Texas combined -- France is a ripe target for the e-commerce giant as it expands in Europe. But Amazon has struggled to match the breadth and speed of its services in the U.S., and its selection of products for same-day and next-day delivery in France remains meager by comparison.

In Brazil, Amazon has been expanding slowly, adding more than 90,000 products to its marketplace offerings there last year. A deal with Casino would mark a major acceleration in the nation of more than 207 million.

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