Swiss retailer Migros has formed a strategic alliance with www.LeShop.ch, combining the latter's web-based supermarket with its own online shopping portal, www.migros-shop.ch, to offer Swiss consumers a much broader range of food and non-food items.
The majority of products sold in Migros outlets are own label, but the link up with LeShop.ch will allow the company's customers to buy a full range of branded items at the same time.
The alliance will begin in January next year, and the two companies are aiming to reach 80 per cent of Swiss households with their combined online shopping portal.
Sales through the combined website are expected to be in the region of SF25-30 million (€16-19m), making it by far the biggest online supermarket in Switzerland, according to Migros.
The site will be accessible via both companies' web addresses, and will offer 6,000 Migros own labels, packaged branded goods and fresh products. All orders will be processed by LeShop's logistical unit at Bremgarten and will be delivered to the customer on the next working day.
Migros' warehouse at Schönbühl will be closed as a result of the collaboration, although all 31 employees will be transferred to the regional co-operative Migros Aar.
Le Shop will remain an independent company and a subsidiary of ShoppingNet Holding, although Migros said that the possibility of it taking a stake in the company in the future had not been ruled out.
Migros' online business was launched in 1998 and last year posted sales of SF6 million. Le Shop started doing business in 1997 and its turnover in 2002 was SF13 million.