“The alliance of the Casino brands and InVivo garden centers would be a form of consolidation in the face of the slump in the market”

Rnothing like a return to the vegetable garden to rediscover the meaning of true values. Especially when we promote organic and short circuits. The very virtuous, and very sore, Monoprix and Naturalia are discussing marriage with the king of rubber boots, tomato stakes and zucchini plants, the Gamm vert garden centre.

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Their parent companies, the Casino Group (Monoprix, Naturalia, Franprix, Casino), on the one hand, and the agricultural cooperative InVivo (Gamm vert, Jardiland, Delbard), on the other, have formalized “Exploratory discussions, which could lead to the merger of the distribution activities of the two groups in France within the same entity controlled by Casino”, indicates the very lapidary press release published on Wednesday 1er february.

The alliance of the very urban brands of Casino and the more provincial garden centers of InVivo is negotiated through a very fine connoisseur of the mysteries of French distribution, Moez-Alexandre Zouari. He is both the owner of the Picard frozen food chain and one of Casino’s biggest franchisees, with nearly 200 Casino, Monoprix and Franprix stores in his portfolio.

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More than twenty years his junior (he is 51) and native, like him, of North Africa, Mr. Zouari shares with the owner of Groupe Casino, Jean-Charles Naouri, the same taste for distribution and constructions bold. His fortune is estimated at nearly 800 million euros by the magazine Challenges.

A new generation

In September 2020, he joined forces with businessmen Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse (individual shareholders of the World) to create a listed vehicle, called 2MX Organic, with the aim of acquiring stakes in the field of organic and “healthy” food. The first will be the acquisition of a minority stake in the distribution activity of InVivo, by creating the company Teract. The objective was to rely on the many InVivo brands to develop local Grand Marché-Frais brands near garden centres, in an attempt to replicate the success of the competitor Grand Frais.

It is therefore the company Teract which aims to combine this beautiful collection of brands with that of Casino. A form of consolidation, but through the diversity of brands and the top of the range, in the face of the slump in the distribution market. It is caught in a pincer movement, between inflation, the surge in energy and the disaffection of consumers, who are reducing their purchases in the face of soaring prices.

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