Tunisia's retail giant Magasin Général acquires e-commerce startup Founa

Magasin Général (French for General Store), a leading retailer in Tunisia has acquired Founa. According to a local news site, they bought 80% stake in the startup. Though there are no details about the amount of the transaction.

Founded in 2013 by Karim Skik, Founa.com is an online retailer specializing in the sale of consumer goods. The startup describes itself as Tunisia's first online supermarket. Listing all its products "at the average prices of supermarkets". It has over 11,000 products listed on the website and supports both online and cash on delivery payments.

Founa also has its own fleet of delivery trucks and delivery team. Deliveries are currently in Greater Tunis, Nabeul, Hammamet, Sousse and Monastir. The startup - to-date - has more than 5,000 customers and realized in 2017 a turnover of 2.7 million Tunisian Dinars (~ $900,000).

Magasin Général, a listed company on the Tunis Stock Exchange, became the market leader in 2012 with 66 stores. Since then, it has grown its number of outlets across Tunisia from 83 to 91 between 2016 and 2017.

According to the financials released in August, they netted a profit of 9.22 million Tunisian Dinar (~$3.097 million) in the first half of 2018.

It also had a 859.2 million Tunisian dinars (~ $285.6 million) turnover in 2017. Of which, it achieved a net profit of 82.19%. Rising from 12.14 million dinars (~ $4.078 million) in 2016 to 22.13 million dinars (~ $7.43 million) in 2017.

The retail giant is moving to strengthen its foothold on Tunisia's retail industry. In June this year, they signed a partnership with French AI startup, UntieNots.

According to the agreement, UntieNots, specializing in the promotion and loyalty in retail, would analyze the purchase path of nearly one million customers of the brand through its AI technology called "Retail Analytics ".

Also read: IFC to invest $1M into Flat6Labs proposed $10M Tunisia-focused fund

This would enable operational segmentation and identify the main vocation of each store of the brand. In the end, they would be able to customize their offer and services according to customer expectations.

Magasin Général's acquisition of Founa comes almost a year after Zinox - an offline store - acquired - Konga. It, thus, is likely going to become a trend that - in order for one to seamlessly do e-commerce in Africa, they need a strong offline presence. This calls for mergers with existing retailers. Except for companies like Jumia and Takealot - that do have the financial muscle.

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