Dutch retailer Albert Heijn will expand its web shop to Belgium sometime next year. The move should help Ahold, its parent company, to grow its online turnover from 1.4 billion euro to 2.5 billion euro by 2017.
"Leading role online"
"Our online brands, Bol.com, Peapod.com and ah.nl have played a leading role in the past 25 years and today we will announce the next step, aimed towards an online turnover growth to 2.5 billion euro by the end of 2017", CEO Dick Boer said during a presentation for analysts and investors. Online sales should represent 20 % of total turnover and 5 % of food sales by 2020.
Internet sales have known a double-digit growth each year over the past 5 years as bol.com leads the charge (+ 22 %). Ahold managed a 916 million euro online turnover in its first three quarters, worth 3.7 % of total turnover.
60 million euro investment
In order to reach that goal, Ahold will invest 60 million euro to expand its online activities to "more places, new areas and with a broader range of products for customers and partners". Boer hopes this will counter his supermarkets' market share drop and the company hopes to ride the worldwide consumer trend to look for lower prices and increased user convenience - even though this may damage its operational margin at first.
The Ahold CEO feels the company offers "a great omni-channel proposition for our customers, creating a strong platform for continued future growth and long-term value creation". Currently, Ahold employs some 1,000 IT-specialists.
AH.nl arrives in Belgium in 2015
Ahold also announced that ah.nl would expand into the north and south of the Netherlands by the end of the year and even make it across the border into Belgium in 2015. Bol.com has already been in Belgium since 2012, shortly after Ahold acquired the online shop.
Peapod.com will expand its American presence to the country's center: it will open a storage facility in the state of Indiana next year. The online shop's turnover will reach 590 million dollars (470 million euro) by the end of the year, which represents a yearly 11 % growth over the past 5 years.