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Ahold Delhaize launches new Belgium strategy, hires McDonald's digital chief

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Dutch retail group Ahold Delhaize is advancing its omnichannel strategy in Belgium by launching new stores and adding pick-up points for online orders.

 

The plan will see Delhaize Le Lion, the company’s main Belgian brand, adding pick-up points in its stores for sister website bol.com.

 

The strategy will see the retailer adding 100 new supermarkets over the next three to four years, while also installing around 200 new smaller convenience stores. Subsidiary Albert Heijn Belgium will open between 30 and 50 new stores in Flanders.

 

“The strategic focus of Albert Heijn will remain on its personal service, surprising assortment and Dutch value proposition,” the company said in a statement.

 

Wouter Kolk, CEO Ahold Delhaize Europe and Indonesia, said: “With the three great local brands combined, we have a no. 2 position in the Belgian market and are uniquely positioned to win the hearts of the Belgian customer, both in-store and online.

 

“We are on the right track to drive growth with two strong supermarket brands, each with its own distinctive and loyal customer base, and large online opportunities with bol.com.”

 

Earlier this month, Ahold Delhaize announced the appointment of a McDonald’s veteran as its chief digital officer.

 

Farhan Siddiqi, who led the fast food chain in launching mobile commerce in 20,000 restaurants, will start his new role on 28 January.

 

Siddiqi will use his expertise to accelerate the company’s digital transformation. The renewed focus on omnichannel comes after the retailer announced its ambitions to double its global online sales to €7 billion by 2021. Ahold Delhaize’s Q3 results saw it increase net sales in the quarter to €15.3 billion, up 3.6%. Net consumer online sales were up 27.6%.

 

Part of the strategy has involved cross-selling between different brands. For example, registered customers of general retailer bol.com are now able to sign into Albert Heijn’s online platform through the same account.

 

The two brands also operate a combined subscription model for their delivery services: new subscribers to Albert Heijn’s home delivery service AH Bezorgbundel will get a free subscription to bol.com’s Select service.

 

Last week, Albert Heijn launched a home delivery service for hot meals in Amsterdam in partnership with Deliveroo and Thuisbezorgd.nl.

 

Image credit: Ahold Delhaize

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