Alcampo seeks to strengthen his reign in Aragon

The transaction announced this week between alcamp and day groupwhich will allow the first to get 235 supermarkets located in Aragon, Castilla León, Madrid, Galicia and Asturias, will change the distribution of the pie from food distribution to Aragon. The French company will increase its presence in the community, since To the 75 centers and 4 hypermarkets that it has today, it will add new establishments – the number remains to be determined – from another giant in the sector, the Dia group.

According to Kantar panel data for 2020, Día was the chain with the largest market share (19.5%) in Aragon, followed by Alcampo, with 18.8%. That’s to say, between them, they represented more than a third of the offer. The third party in the race that year was Mercadona with an 18.2% share of the pie, followed by Eroski (7.3%), Carrefour (4.6%) and Lidl (3.9%). Now it is more than likely that Alcampo will consolidate its leadership in the community, although it will be necessary to wait for the decision of the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC), which is the one that must authorize or not the operation.

The operation, whose cost amounts to 267 million euros, has suspended the 1,800 workers that Día has in Aragón, although they trust that the buyer, in this case Alcampo, can assume the staff of the establishments Día, La Plaza de Día and El Árbol, which have an important presence in the Aragonese territory. Specific, there would be more than 80 stores that could be transferred, although the transaction will not include them all, as it will be limited to these medium-sized centers (about 760 square meters) and with an attractive location that no longer corresponds to the strategy of the Día group.

“H1 2022 figures show how Dia Market stores under the new model outperformed the market, recording 10.9% like-for-like sales growth,” Sources from the group stand out with this newspaper, who stress that this will be their strategic bet for the future.

The channel has already overcome various obstacles in recent years, as recalled by the representative of Bcc, Susana Gistau. She is one of the survivors of the successive upheavals that have animated the food distribution sector and more particularly the Día group. In 2009, the supermarket group El Árbol acquired Galerías Primero, resulting in the dismissal of 295 workers from the historic Aragonese company. It was only the beginning, because in 2014 Día took control of El Árbol and began a national reorganization, which also had important consequences in Aragón. Already in 2019, the company carried out 73 layoffs in the community (2,000 throughout Spain) after learning that it was in a situation of technical bankruptcy. Finally, the Russian investor Mikhail Fridman came to the rescue by carrying out a takeover bid on the Día group in February of the same year.

The head of the CCOO of Alcampo in Aragón and member of the inter-center committee, César Gómez, points out that one of the objectives that the trade unions have set themselves, and in which they have already begun to work in coordination with their counterparts in Día, it will be that “the job is not lost and that all guarantees are given to the workers of the Día group”.

strategy change

For the time being, the two food distribution giants have concluded an agreement which will allow them to develop their strategies and which, in the case of Aragon, this will mean the establishment of Alcampo in more districts of the three capitals and possibly in more municipalities. Of course, the consequences on work remain to be determined.

The strong commitment of Alcampo, belonging to the Mulliez family, represents a change in strategy that the French chain already initiated a few years ago. In fact, he tried to take over another big chain like Carrefour, run by another French family. The news came to light last January, although the two companies had already negotiated a possible integration in October 2021, which fell through due to a lack of understanding in the possible share exchange. While this operation was still at a standstill, Alcampo continued to work in parallel to reach an agreement with the Día group, which shows the group’s commitment to growth. “We did not expect that”, recognize the union delegates of CCOO in the two chains.

Whatever, Alcampo demonstrates its strong commitment to growth, although its competitors performed better during the pandemic years. In 2021 alone, the company tripled its investments in Spain (104 million), as evidenced by the 2021 Activity and CSR Report. The takeover of supermarkets from the Dia group, which could be completed by the middle of next year, could mark a turning point for Alcampo.

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