Ahold USA is the American arm of Netherlands-based Royal Ahold -- a grocery retailer with operations in Europe and the US. The subsidiary oversees some 770 supermarkets in 14 states -- from Massachusetts to Virginia -- and the District of Columbia. Ahold USA's four divisions include: Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop Metro New York, Giant-Landover, and Giant-Carlisle, each with its own support business. Its online grocery ordering and delivery service Peapod serves Giant Food and Stop & Shop customers in select markets. Ahold USA accounts for about 60% of its Dutch parent's group sales. After nearly a decade of retrenchment, Royal Ahold is growing again on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ahold USA is a leading grocery operator along the East Coast of the US. Of its four regional chains, Stop & Shop New England is the largest with more than 215 stores. Stop & Shop Metro New York -- with stores in New York, New Jersey, and southern Connecticut -- numbers about 180 locations. Giant Carlisle operates nearly 200 supermarkets under the banners Giant Food Stores and Martin's Food Markets. Giant Landover (aka Giant of Maryland) operates about 170 supermarkets in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Giant Carlisle and Stop & Shop New England chains also operate fuel stations in about 210 locations.
Peapod is a leading US online grocer and works with the company's four store brands to provide Internet-based home shopping and grocery delivery and pickup. The delivery service boasts nearly 210 pick-up points in 14 US states (mostly in the Northeast, the Midwest, Virginia, and the District of Columbia).
Sales and Marketing
Ahold USA serves a trading area of approximately 56 million people, with the grocery channel representing nearly 60% of the food market in its trading area.
Ahold USA's stores sales have remained flat for the past few years. Sales dipped by 0.5% to $26 billion in 2014, mostly as the company closed 14 stores (which included its exit from the New Hampshire market in 2013). in a highly-competitive market that was flat for the year, Ahold USA's market share fell slightly in 2014. Operating income fell by 9% to $980 million for the year, mostly as revenue and underlying profit margins fell.
In 2014, Ahold USA accounted for 60% of its Dutch parent company's sales and contributed about 55% of its operating income.
Ahold USA has been working to improve sales in its existing stores through a number of innovative measures. In 2014, its main focus was to improve the customer experience in 523 of its stores by using targeted price reductions and marketing, revamping its Fresh offerings, and encouraging associate engagement; all of which improved sales volumes. The company planned to implement this through 2015 as well. Also in 2014, with the goal of keeping its stores fresh and up to date for customers, the company remodeled, expanded, relocated, or reconstructed 43 stores.
Enjoying increased demand from online orders, the company has also been aggressively expanding its Peapod service. In 2014, it added 89 pick-up points where customer could drive up and pick up online grocery orders, bringing its total pick-up point locations to 209. It also opened a distribution center in the New Jersey area to up production capacity.
The company recently reorganized its US and European operations, separating support functions from retail store operations and expanding in the US via acquisitions and organic growth. In 2012, the company remodeled, expanded, relocated or rebuilt 64 stores as part of its ongoing effort to keep its store base up to date.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In late 2012, Ahold USA's Giant-Carlisle chain acquired 15 stores in the Philadelphia area from Safeway-owned Genuardis for $106 million.
In 2010, the company purchased 25 family-owned Ukrop's Super Markets in Virginia.The company's Ukrop's purchase reversed years of paring down operations. Divestments included the TOPS Markets, BI-LO, and Bruno's grocery store chains in the US. Royal Ahold also sold its U.S. Foodservice business following a massive accounting scandal at the company.