Ahold is a leading global food retailer. In Europe, it comprises Albert Heijn, Etos, Gall & Gall, albert.nl, and Albert/Hypernova, and Bol.com. In the U.S., Ahold operates Giant Carlisle, Giant Landover, Stop & Shop, and the Peapod online business.
Recently, Klaus Behrenbeck of the McKinsey consulting firm interviewed Ahold CEO Dick Boer about the retailer’s revamped strategy. These are some highlights of the interview:
“The company has gone through a number of phases, and it would be wrong to highlight only our strategy over the past two years. I think the turning point for Ahold actually came in 2006. At the time, the company was a mixed bag — different brands, different structures, even different businesses, with food retail in Europe and food service in the United States. So the board asked us to do a full review of our business.”
“That review led to a clear statement, that our focus would be on food retail, and our focus would be on markets where we were — or could become — number one or two. We sold the wholesale division. We started moving toward continental strategies, with a clear delineation between Ahold USA and Ahold Europe.”
“Essentially, we laid the groundwork for regaining credibility among our stakeholders, both internal and external. But we also needed to show the market that we had a strategy for growth. We started working on our next phase, and that led to our current strategy: ‘reshaping retail.’
“We had a few things going for us, already, at that time. We’d decided to close down our hypermarkets and focus on supermarkets, convenience and smaller-store concepts, and the online channel — all mainly to help fulfill the daily needs of consumers. We felt that was our domain, what we were good at. We also had the benefit of a diverse and highly skilled team, both in the United States and Europe, that we’d built over the past few years.”
Click the Ahold logo to read more of the interview.