Ahold CEO Lauds U.S. Stores’ Achievements

At Amsterdam-based Ahold’s recent annual general meeting, company CEO Dick Boer discussed the various divisions’ achievements during 2011, including U.S. banners Giant-Landover, Stop & Shop and Giant-Carlisle, and online grocer Peapod.

Maryland-based Giant-Landover, which marked its 75th anniversary in 2011, “performed well, in part thanks to the division’s successful store remodeling program, ‘Project Refresh,’ which was completed last year, and [to] the division’s increased focus on its fresh assortment and customer loyalty programs,” said Boer.

Shifting his focus to another division, he continued: “Stop & Shop New York Metro expanded its store portfolio last year by acquiring stores in New Jersey and on Staten Island. It continued its successful customer loyalty programs, including one that gives customers a discount on gasoline when they shop in our stores -- a popular incentive, especially with gas prices rising.”

Stop & Shop New England, meanwhile, “opened a new-concept supermarket with new services and a pickup point enabling customers to order groceries online and pick them up at the store,” noted Boer. “It also launched a mobile application that allows customers to scan their groceries, tally their orders, receive personalized offers and pay using their smartphones.”

Pennsylvania-based Giant-Carlisle, according to Boer “delivered another outstanding performance.” He then provided details of an eventful year: “The division opened its first store in the city of Philadelphia -- and partnered with Peapod, for the first time, to offer online shopping and delivery to customers in the surrounding area. So far this year, we have increased our presence in and around Philadelphia even further by announcing the acquisition of 16 Genuardi’s supermarkets in the area. Giant-Carlisle is developing its formats, and has introduced a more compact supermarket format.”

Described by Boer as “the leading online grocery service in the United States,” Skokie, Ill.-based Peapod “is growing every year, especially in densely populated areas and by expanding to cities such as Manhattan and Philadelphia,” he observed. “It has the advantage of being able to grow faster by partnering with our Ahold USA supermarket divisions. Sales at Peapod grew by double digits last year, and the company also achieved a significant milestone when it delivered its 20 millionth order.”

As for what’s on tap this year at Ahold’s stateside stores, Boer said: “In the United States, we implemented direct mail and e-mail programs last year, targeted to the individual buying behavior of 2.5 million shoppers -- and we are expanding this program in 2012.”

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