AMSTERDAM —Look for a bigger impact on local food and pharmacy competition and new innovations in community health services from Ahold USA in 2010.
In November, Dutch-based Royal Ahold launched a major reorganization of its U.S. and European supermarket operations. The move, said company leaders, will shift decision-making responsibility closer to local markets and make each of Ahold’s U.S. chain holdings—which include Stop & Shop in New England; Landover, Md.-based Giant Food; and Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores—more responsive to local consumer demand.
The realignment of Ahold’s U.S. food and pharmacy businesses could inject new momentum into a renewal effort already well underway. Over the past few years, the company has unveiled new health services and merchandising concepts in its sprawling network of stores in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region, including Diabetic Centers in some units where diabetic customers can easily find the products they need and counseling on the disease from Ahold pharmacists trained in diabetes education. At Stop & Shop, store designers overhauled the pharmacy to make it open and accessible to patients, and unveiled a rejuvenated drug store concept for wellness, personal care and beauty products under the banner “Relax, Renew, Revive.”
Meanwhile, Ahold’s Giant of Carlisle division unveiled a new in-store pharmacy concept that marries an EDLP strategy with the warmth and service appeal of a neighborhood-based community pharmacy. The concept, “Your Neighborhood Drugstore at Giant,” provides a highly visible and accessible pharmacy with a minimum of clutter in front of the counter area, a striking graphics and signage package on a prominent overhang, and a low counter to encourage easy pharmacist-patient interaction.
BY THE NUMBERS
|No. of stores||660|
|Stores with Rx||532|
According to Jim Wonderly, VP pharmacy for Ahold’s Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover stores, and head of pharmacy purchasing for Ahold USA, the company will work hard to link the pharmacy and food aisles in its stores more closely in 2010. “There is going to be a continued focus on integrating pharmacy into the food store,” he said.
To that end, Ahold has expanded its “Healthy Ideas” concept. The program, which debuted at Stop & Shop, includes a “Healthy Idea” symbol attached to shelf tags and more than 3,000 individual food items in the store to point out foods that are lower in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium. Foods that provide significant nutritional value also are tagged.