French retail group Auchan has appointed a new chief executive for its Italian arm, Auchan Italy.

Philippe Le Grignou, a 27-year veteran of the retailer, has replaced Benoît Lheureux, who in September moved to take charge of Auchan's real estate business Immochan.

Auchan owns four independent businesses in Italy. Auchan operates 44 hypermarkets under the Auchan name in the country.

The company also owns the SMA retail network, which totals some 1,500 outlets, both owned and franchised.

Last month, SMA signed a ten-year purchasing and logistics deal with independent retailer group Crai. Crai has a network of 3,125 stores, located in 19 Italian regions.

Auchan also owns finance and real estate interests in the country.