French retailer Auchan outlines online expansion in Russia

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 9 (Reuters) - French retailer Auchan plans to spend more than 20 billion roubles ($277 million) on developing digital services in Russia by 2024 to boost online sales, the company’s country head said.

Auchan has faced increased competition from fast-expanding Russian retailers and online delivery firms, including Magnit and Lenta.

Auchan, which started to expand its online delivery in Russia during the coronavirus crisis, has increased its online sales in Russia from virtually zero to 6%-10% of turnover in the country, Philippe Brochard told Reuters.

“We are developing further to reach 20% of our turnover from digital within two years. We are now facing a transformation by still investing into physical retail and speeding up digital development,” he said in an interview.

Auchan plans to spend more than 20 billion roubles on digital services such as its technical platform, strategic partnerships and data on top of investment already made in Russia, he said. He did not so how much had been spent so far.

As well as expanding online, the company has been upgrading its hypermarkets and shifting more of its focus to smaller convenience stores to address changing consumer habits.

“We are definitely here to stay with a project for growth,” Brochard said of the firm’s Russian operations.

$1 = 72.1125 roubles Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Edmund Blair