Shops in the small central French city of Puy-en-Velay are about to launch a shared Internet site to compete with regional big box retailers, the town hall announced on Tuesday.
The European economic crisis has prompted about 300 stores to band together with the city's centre-right mayor and launch acheteraupuy.com on September 4, a municipal official said.
People in the city and 28 nearby towns of France's Auvergne region will be able to order items online and have them delivered to their doors in what Puy-en-Velay says is the first such initiative of its kind.
Puy-en-Velay counts 60,000 inhabitants.
To date, Internet-based retailing in rural France has been driven by major retailers like Carrefour, the world's second-biggest distributor after the US group Walmart.