PARIS (AP) _ French department store chain Galeries Lafayette and supermarket operator Casino said Friday they were buying the Prisunic market chain for 1.61 billion francs, or $273 million.

Galeries Lafayette's supermarket unit, Monoprix, will be merged with Prisunic in the deal, forming one of the biggest supermarket companies in France.

Galeries Lafayette will purchase Prisunic from Pinault-Printemps-Redoute. Casino will then invest 1.19 billion francs to own a 21.4 percent stake in the newly merged supermarket giant.

Pinault said the deal will allow it to focus on its core businesses.