Turkish supermarket chain Tansas is to hold talks with France's Casino for a possible alliance in Turkey's expanding retail food market.

Tansas' owner, Dogus Holding, told the Istanbul Stock Exchange Casino had initiated talks on partnership or buying into Tansas' shares. Tansas controls some 25% of the super~ and hypermarket sector in a country of 65 million people, ranking third behind Migros with 35% and BIM with 32%.

As with other chains, including Carrefour and Metro, most groups are believed to be far from making profit, preferring additional investment to increase their market share and seek partners at more advantageous financial terms in a likely shakeout within the next few years.

The Turkish parliament is currently considering a bill that would force markets with over 300m2 surface to move out of town to appease small shops losing customers to big chains. But the bill's fate is uncertain since passing it would entail threat of closures by big outlets with job losses at a time of high social tension amid a severe financial crisis.

By Hilmi Toros, just-food.com correspondent

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