French retail group Systeme-U has declined to comment on reports that it is trying to broker a strategic buying alliance within the European Marketing Distribution (EMD) group.

Last week, rival retail alliance Coopernic sign a cross-border deal with over 100 suppliers, which will be worth over EUR100bn (US$147bn) in the coming year.

Reports in France have claimed that Systeme-U is looking to tie-up a similar agreement with fellow EMD members Delhaize, Italy's Esselunga-Selex and Dutch retail group SuperUnie.

With sales topping EUR120bn, EMD enjoys more buying leverage than Coopernic, which earns over EUR95bn in gross sales.

However, a high proportion of Coopernic's sales come from hypermarkets and high-volume out-of-town complexes. EMD's sales are generated in 50,000 smaller outlets across 22 European countries.

Systeme-U joined EMD within days of Coopernic being formed last February. Coopernic is made up of five of Europe's largest grocers - Germany's Rewe, French chain Leclerc, Belgium's Colruyt, Italian retailer Conad and Switzerland's Co-op.