Ahold Delhaize US: news in review

Date : 18 January 2017

We round up the latest news from Ahold Delhaize including new appointments, work on 'digital transformation', the sourcing of niche suppliers and the trial of sustainable shelf tag ratings.

Key new appointments…

Roger Wheeler has been appointed as president of its shared services division, which will be known as Retail Business Services. Wheeler will report to Kevin Holt, COO of Ahold USA and Frans Muller, interim COO for Delhaize America.

As part of his new appointment, Wheeler will lead the team’s focus on retail operations support, own brands and supply chain, as well as finance, HR, legal and IT. Prior to his appointment, Wheeler acted as U.S. lead for the integration management office following the merger of Ahold Delhaize. Last month, Ahold Delhaize revealed it was on track to generate $518m from synergies in the combined business, with 65 – 70% of this achieved in the USA.

Wheeler has over 20 years experience in retail, including ad SVP of supply chain and VP of meat and seafood at Ahold USA. Before his career at Ahold, he worked in a range of roles including store manager, buyer and category manager at Shaw’s Supermarkets.

In related news, Ahold USA has appointed Don Sussman as EVP of merchandising. Sussman has over 37 years retail experience, including heading three of Ahold USA's four retail divisions, as well as senior positions in marketing and merchandising. He will replace Andrew Iacobucci who is leaving Ahold USA to work outside of the grocery industry.

 …As Ahold USA completes ‘digital transformation’

Elsewhere, Ahold USA has partnered with Verizon Enterprise Solutions to create a ‘smarter store’ for ‘today’s always-connected consumer’.

This has seen Ahold introduce Wi-Fi capability to 780 divisional stores, which has helped it to introduce targeted promotions to users of its app and ‘Scan It! Mobile’ function that allows shoppers to use their smartphones for serve-checkout. In December 2016, the retailer saw usage of this increase by 23% versus the previous month.

Sourcing niche suppliers…

In other news, Ahold USA has made an agreement with San Francisco-based RangeMe, an online network of smaller suppliers selling around 180,000 uncommon brands. Other companies already working with RangeMe include Jet.com, Petco, Sephora, Target, Whole Foods Market and Winn Dixie.

Nick Bertram, senior vice president of merchandising strategy and support at Ahold USA said, ‘Our category managers are always trying to find new and innovative products that customers want, and we have found that the innovation pipeline of small suppliers is really answering our customers’.

Bertram has recently expanded his responsibilities to include vendor collaboration and merchandising, as well as integration work with Delhaize America.

…While trialling sustainable shelf tag ratings

Elsewhere, the retailer's Giant-Landover division has started trialling use HowGood’s shelf-tag sustainability rating system in the Baltimore-Washington area.

HowGood provides ratings for food products with a focus on social and environmental criteria, offering a Good, Great and Beat ranking for over 200,000 products. This will be brought to life in-store at Ahold through communication at entrances and at the shelf-edge, as well as a dedicated colleague who can answer questions and introduce dedicated shopper events.

HowGood, which rates each product against 70 industry-specific criteria said,‘On average, stores implementing HowGood see a 31% lift in sales for Best rated products’.

Commenting on the development, Mark Adamcik, VP of sales and merchandising said, ‘The Good, Great and Best HowGood ratings now on select store shelves highlight our most sustainable items so that our customers can feel good about making positive choices for themselves and the environment’.