Group Casino of France has announced the creation of ICDC Services joint venture, with Spain’s DIA Group after the two supermarket and discount store groups decided to join forces internationally to boost their competitiveness relative to major suppliers of national brand food products.

The partners said they will be offering suppliers access to a unique portfolio of global services (e.g., data sharing, country development assistance, etc.) while combining their expertise and the synergies that exist between their geographic locations and store formats.

In addition, the partners have agreed to coordinate purchasing negotiations for their private-label brands in Europe, with the aim of ultimately pooling around 50% of volumes.

One of Europe’s largest private-label platforms is thus being created, to open up additional markets to existing suppliers and also improve the product offering available to consumers.

The alliance will take effect, subject to the approval of the relevant competition authorities (where needed), starting with the 2016 round of purchasing negotiations, via a new joint venture, ICDC Services.

It will be created in addition to the two Groups’ existing purchasing partnership agreements, which will remain unchanged.

DIA operates over 7,000 stores globally, including discount and supermarket formats, while Casino operates over 14,000 stores globally and banners that include food stores and supermarkets such as Casino, Monoprix, Monop, and Franprix.

And Casino group’s ‘urban store’ banner Monoprix has announced that it had been a record year for the brand in 2015, with 70 stores across all formats on track for a 2015 opening, which boosted its presence in 250 cities to give the brand over 600 stores across France.

The Monoprix group has accelerated the development of all its formats and variations. These include small food concepts and beauty stores and the banners Monoprix, monop ‘monop’daily, monop’beauty, monop’station, and Naturalia, with its network also expanding through franchising, which represents a third of small openings this year.