By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS (Reuters) - French supermarket retailer Casino said it was beefing up its partnership with tech giant Amazon following the success of an earlier deal between its Monoprix supermarket chain and Amazon in Paris.
The new, extended partnership entails the installation of so-called Amazon lockers in 1,000 locations across France in nine of the company's main brands, including Monoprix, Monop, Geant, Hyper Casino, Casino Supermarche, Leaderprice, Viva and Spar by the end of the year.
More Casino-branded products will also be available on Amazon.
Amazon and Monoprix will extend their partnership on the Prime Now grocery delivery service outside Paris and onto new cities in the next twelve months.
"This announcement represents a new step in strengthening Casino's omnichannel strategy to always be a little more in the heart of consumers' lives," said Casino's chief executive Jean-Charles Naouri in a statement.
Casino's Monoprix, seen by analysts as similar to U.S. retailer Whole Foods which Amazon bought last year, started filling orders for subscribers to Amazon's Prime loyalty programme in parts of Paris last September.
The performance of this partnership has been closely watched since Monoprix was the first French retailer to agree in March 2018 to sell its products via Amazon, causing a stir in the fiercely competitive domestic French market.
The U.S. E-commerce giant, which has run its Amazon Prime express delivery service in Paris since 2016, has made no secret of its desire to launch a grocery delivery service in France as part of its ambitions to expand in food retail.
Casino is also in the process of selling assets to cut its debts and ease concerns over the financial position of both Casino and its parent holding company Rallye.
Earlier this week, Casino said it would sell 12 Casino hypermarkets and 20 supermarkets to Apollo Global Management in a deal worth up to 470 million euros (£407 million).
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)