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Sale of Casino stores: the group's employees "and anyone attached to the brand" called to demonstrate

2023-12-17T08:01:18.729Z

Highlights: Inter-union association hopes for a giant demonstration. Rally scheduled for 10 a.m. in front of the company's headquarters in Saint-Étienne (Loire) Retail behemoth is in a very perilous financial situation. The Intermarché-Auchan tandem has already made it known that it is interested in all the stores, Lidl would also be interested in some of them, if not others. "Firm and definitive offers" for the takeover of stores by other retailers in the sector will be presented on December 19.


A mobilization is planned this Sunday in front of the company's headquarters in Saint-Étienne (Loire). The inter-union association hopes to bring together m


They are hoping for a giant demonstration. While the sale of the Casino group has begun, the unions (FO, CGT, CFDT, Unsa, CFE-CGC) call this Sunday for the "general mobilization of the group's employees throughout France, extended to suppliers and subcontractors, players and supporters of ASSE and more broadly to the population attached to the brand" to oppose "firmly the dismantling of the group through the disappearance of the Casino brand". The rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. in front of the company's headquarters in Saint-Étienne (Loire).

Read also"Before long, Casino will disappear": store sales, debt wall... Anatomy of a Fall

It is a mobilization "against social breakdown" and "against finance which is disconnected from reality," said Jean Pastor, CGT union delegate of the Casino group and spokesman for the inter-union union, at the microphone of RMC this Sunday morning. "Behind this financial affair, there are families, human faces," he said.

The call to protest was not only made to employees but also to the inhabitants of the Saint-Etienne area and to customers, "to all those who are attached to Casino", insisted Jean Pastor, since the company has been "working families for 125 years". The group, founded in 1898 by Geoffroy Guichard, still employed 2022,50 people in France at the end of 000, including 2,000 in Saint-Étienne alone.

XXL Assignment

The retail behemoth is in a very perilous financial situation. In July, it signed an agreement providing for the restructuring of an unsustainable debt, with a change of shareholding with, by March-April 2024, a takeover by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, Frenchman Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière and the British fund Attestor. But in the meantime, commercial performance has not improved and the group, still led for a few months by Jean-Charles Naouri, has had to revise its financial ambitions downwards several times, before saying it is ready to sell stores if competitors were interested.

In particular, it provides for the sale of the group's 67 hypermarkets and 441 remaining supermarkets. According to the unions, "firm and definitive offers" for the takeover of stores by other retailers in the sector will be presented to them on December 19 at a meeting in Saint-Étienne. The Intermarché-Auchan tandem has already made it known that it is interested in all the stores, Lidl would also be interested in some of them, if not others.

A large-scale divestment would have a serious impact on employment at the group's headquarters and its logistics network. In addition, working conditions can be very different from one large retail company to another.

A "massive" mobilization

On Wednesday, the inter-union union met with the CIRI (Interministerial Committee for Industrial Restructuring), in the presence of Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance. The latter reiterated that he was closely monitoring the situation and, in the face of the concerns, that the employees did not have to pay for "the strategic errors made several years ago" by Casino's management. He said he was "there to defend the interests of employees and guarantee respect for economic public order". He intends to weigh in to "ensure that with the rest of the French retail sector" possibly a candidate to buy stores, "all employees can find a solution".

It is therefore on the eve of a decisive day that the inter-union association wanted to organize a mobilization. And it should be "massive", according to Jean Pastor. Alongside the employees and residents of the region could be elected officials. The mayor of Saint-Étienne Gaël Perdriau (ex-LR) has, according to his office, invited his city council on Wednesday to go and support "all the employees" of Casino by being present on Sunday morning in front of the Saint-Etienne headquarters.

During the previous mobilization, on December 5, more than a thousand people gathered to try to save the Saint-Etienne company.

Source: leparis

All business articles on 2023-12-17

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