A major factor in Ahold’s sales growth in recent years — as well as its success in negotiating with vendors — has been the success of its multi-tiered private-label program.
Ahold recently switched to a unified look across all of its chains for its national-brand-equivalent line, and this month began touting the new packaging for its Guaranteed Value private label that makes the product stand out on the shelf, Martin said. Other labels include Nature’s Promise natural and organic products, CareOne items in the HBC category, and Simply Enjoy specialty products. It also has private-label pet and diaper brands.
The move to a common national-brand equivalent across all divisions gave Ahold better economies of scale and improved supply-chain efficiency, Martin explained. The company also moved nutritional information to the front of the packaging and did a quality audit on the products.
Martin said the company sees opportunities for more private-label offerings in fresh product.
“Private label is going to a big part of our plan going forward, both in the U.S. and in Europe,” he said.
Ahold is also taking a closer look at overall product assortment, particularly in general merchandise and dry grocery, with an eye toward replicating some tests that have been done in those areas at Giant-Carlisle into its Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover banners.
Burt Flickinger, managing director, Strategic Resource Group, New York, said Ahold USA has a big opportunity to leverage its marketing expertise to drive sales at the recently acquired Genuardi’s stores in the Philadelphia area and to continue to apply the success at improving Stop & Shop’s image at Giant-Landover.
“[Martin’s] innovative thought leadership in marketing, and his use of ad agencies and other resources, really has been able to stave off the competition from nontraditional formats,” he said. “They’ve done a good job of improving the image of [Stop & Shop] in consumers’ minds as a place to get good values.”
Martin himself is quick to credit his team.
“Ahold’s success is really a reflection of a lot of hard work by a lot of people and the support team,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to work with them. I am always humbled by my opportunity to work with them.”