As Ahold Delhaize creates Ahold Delhaize USA, Dick Boer has also given an interview with NRC Handelsblad, focusing on the role of innovation, health, convenience and online. In other news, the retailer is expanding its presence and offer in Romania. This is a key growth market for the retailer. IGD forecasts the market will account for over 7% of sales by 2022, over double that forecasted in 2017. However, the retailer has announced plans to cease trading in Germany.
Ahold Delhaize creates Ahold Delhaize USA…
Ahold Delhaize is creating Ahold Delhaize USA, effective from January 1 2018. A press release from the retailer outlined that this would be ‘the parent company for all of Ahold Delhaize’s US operations, including its local brands, Stop & Shop, Food Lion, Giant, Hannaford, Giant/Martin’s and Peapod’.
…Appointing Kevin Holt as CEO of the new entity
Kevin Holt will become the CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA, reporting to CEO Dick Boer. Holt is currently COO of Ahold Delhaize USA. The press release continued, ‘Frans Muller, Deputy CEO Ahold Delhaize and Chief Integration Officer, who serves as acting COO Delhaize America (ad interim) will focus on the continued smooth integration of Ahold Delhaize'.
Commenting on his appointment, Holt said, ‘I'm excited that we are moving into this next phase where we can focus on further strengthening our brands and winning in our markets … Ahold Delhaize USA and its U.S. brands are well positioned to continue to drive growth and innovation and meet the evolving needs of customers, both in stores and online’.
Ahold Delhaize CEO on innovation at Albert Heijn and Delhaize…
In other news an interview with NRC Handelsblad, Ahold Delhaize CEO Dick Boer described the central role of innovation to supermarket success. He stated that while ‘Albert Heijn’s stores are innovative’, Delhaize ‘could come up with new ideas and you can get those on the shelf fast’.
…On the importance of ‘fresh and healthy’ in the US and more widely
On adapting consumer trends in the United States, Boer said, ‘The fresh and healthy trend is also slowly taking over … We are introducing a lot more convenience items in the United States, like sliced fruit and vegetables, something we transferred from the Netherlands’.
Boer believes health remains an opportunity for the retailer more widely. ‘You can buy a well-known brand’s ketchup, but that contains so much sugar. Besides, the Albert Heijn brand also has that issue. However, there is also an organic, non-sweetened ketchup and if you can point that out, you will help the customer to make a better choice. That is where there are incredible opportunities for us as a company’.
…On Peapod & Amazon
On online, Ahold Delhaize is looking to use Peapod to drive ‘more volume’. Boer also acknowledged competition, although on Amazon he said, ‘they clearly struggle with fresh food deliver, which is obviously harder to achieve’.
Romania: 2017 turnover to exceed €1bn, expansion to continue
Elsewhere within the business, Romania’s Mega Image General Manager Vassilis Stavrou has said that the retailer expects turnover will exceed €1bn in 2017. Expansion will continue in 2018, as Mega Image plans to invest €50m in opening between 50 and 60 new stores.
Bucharest is key, future focus on ‘residential areas, office buildings and new real estate projects’
Last year the retailer opened 50 stores. 90% of its stores are located in the capital, Bucharest, where the average net wage is reportedly 26% above the national average. Stavrou also said, 'The city is growing and we grow up with it. I am talking about Bucharest and Ilfov, the extended area of Bucharest as we call it. We also go to residential areas, office buildings, and new real estate projects'.
On the role of proximity stores, he continued ‘It's a global trend... What they are actually looking for is saving time, gaining added value, improving their standard of living and, last but not least, having a personalized customer service'.
Mega Image launches new Shop & Go store concept
In other news, Mega Image is introducing a new Shop & Go store concept in Bucharest’s Plaza Romania shopping centre. The concept will sell mainly prepared food under the retailer’s private label Mega Apetit brand.
Mega Image originally launched the Mega Apetit private label range in December 2016. It includes food to go products including sandwiches, salads and soup, as well as prepared dishes to be heated and desserts.
Celebrated chefs, Alex Iacob and Joseph Hadad have collaborated exclusively with the retailer, introducing special products including soups, salads, main dishes and dessert under the Mega Apetit brand.
As AH to go to cease trading in Germany
While expansion plans are ramping up in Romania, Ahold Delhaize has announced it will cease trading in Germany through the AH to go banner. As a result, the retailer will close six stores located in Nordrhein-Westfalen by the end of the first quarter of 2018. The five Albert Heijn stores at Shell forecourts will also close.
Spokesperson Anoesjla Aspelagh said, ‘We see a modest growth in the stores, but in our current set-up this offers too few opportunities for a sustainable company in the future … Since 1012, we have been working with AH to go in Germany and have therefore taken ample time to see if the formula works’.
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