A week of big changes at Ahold: just a day after announcing its new private label AH Basic, the Dutch holding also found itself a new director. WE Fashion's CEO Wouter Kolk will take responsibility for the Belgian Albert Heijn as well as the chains AH to go, Etos and Gall & Gall.
Happy return for Kolk
Kolk's new job of Director New Markets & Speciality Stores, starting on 1 June, will earn him not only a seat in Albert Heijn's board of directors - but also the prospect of a happy return. Between 1991 and 2007 Kolk already worked for Ahold, including a spell as director of the chain Etos - one of the chains he will be leading again soon.
Ahold Europe's COO Sander van der Laan admits to "being happy Wouter Kolk returns to Ahold" and hopes his earlier experience at Ahold, combined with new insights from six years in fashion, will guarantee Kolk's success as Director New Markets & Speciality Stores.
At the same time WE Fashion will hope to guarantee the company's continuity by appointing current COO John Hind as Kolk's successor. The 46-year-old has been director at the Dutch chain for five years and currently leads the divisions Sales, Retail Operations, Buying & Merchandising and Sourcing & Production.
New private label for Ahold
Ahold's other big announcement this week was the introduction of a new private label for the underside of the market: AH Basic. This brand will gradually replace Euro Shopper, private label of Ahold's purchase alliance AMS at all European supermarkets of Ahold. The Dutch company states to be not completely satisfied with the price and the quality of the current Euro Shopper products.
Over the next few week AH Basic will start making its appearance: a budget line designed in the style of other private labels - but for once it will not have the familiar blue of the company, but a red that indicates the low prices.
With this new private label, the private labels of Albert Heijn are four layered: AH Excellent at the top, AH Huismerk as a reference for A-brands and now AH Basic for the underside of the market. Next to these three, the sustainable AH puur&eerlijk completes the quartet of private labels.
Euro Shopper will stay at other places
While Euro Shopper will disappear from Ahold's supermarkets, customers can still find the Euro Shopper-line at retailers elsewhere in Europe, says Ahold-spokeswoman Dagna Hoogkamer. That will be the case at for example Italian Esselunga and Scandinavian ICA.
AMS will remain involved with purchasing, also of AH Basic: “We always look for the provider that can comply with our specifications the best and AMS is and will be one of them”, says Hoogkamer. “AMS currently does not purchase all products of Euro Shopper for us: we already partly did that via Ahold European Sourcing.”
More European spread of AH-brand
By opening supermarkets in Belgium and AH to go-convenience stores in Germany, the brand Albert Heijn is spreading across Europe. “Starting point of AH Basis is that it is an international brand, so it can be sold in other European countries and at other European subsidiaries”, says Hoogkamer.
“AH Basic will be bought and produced for all
supermarkets of Albert Heijn in the Netherlands and Belgium. It will also be on
the shelves of Albert in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.” (MR/YVL)