Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ahold investing in freshness, training and price reductions

Ahold announced last week that its U.S. pilot program that invests more heavily in the quality and merchandising of its fresh assortment, in employee training and in targeted price reductions, resulted in "encouraging volume uplifts" and will be rolled out more extensively, especially in New England. The announcement came as Ahold's first quarter results revealed eroding margins amid competitive and inflationary pressures.

Ahold, based in the Netherlands, operates the Stop & Shop banner in New England and New York markets, as well as the Giant banner in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In its earnings call, the company said it expects the program to be implemented in more than half of its stores by the end of the year, and that it will be funded mostly by the expected $250 million "simplicity" program of cost savings in the U.S.

Ahold also owns and operates Peapod, the online grocery ordering and delivery service. Peapod experienced double-digit sales growth in the first quarter.

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