Ahold's Sustainability Initiatives

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG055
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : -
Pub. Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : -
Industry : Retail
Countries : Netherlands

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

The origin of Ahold can be traced to 1887, when 22 year-old Albert Heijn (Heijn) took over his father's small grocery store in Zaandam, Holland. Due to Heijn's untiring efforts, the store, which was named after him, became popular for its high quality, reasonably priced products and services.

Soon Heijn opened a second store in Alkmaar, also in Holland. By 1897, Heijn increased the store count to 23. These were located in different parts of Holland including The Hague and Amsterdam. In 1911, the first Albert Heijn branded products was introduced (cookies which were baked by Heijn himself).

In 1948, Albert Heijn was listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange. It made its first acquisition in 1951 when it acquired the Netherlands-based Van Amerongen store chain. Albert Heijn opened its first self-service supermarket chain in 1955. In 1973, to take the growth story forward, the Heijn family established Ahold as a parent company with Albert Heijn as the main subsidiary.

In the same year, Ahold entered into specialty retailing with Alberto (liquor chain) and Etos (health and beauty care chain). In 1977, Ahold entered the US market by acquiring the BI-LO supermarket chain (which had stores in Georgia and North & South Carolina).

That was followed by the acquisition of Giant food stores (based in Carlisle) in 1981 and Finast (based in Ohio) in 1988. With these acquisitions, Ahold strengthened its position in the US.

In 1988, Queen Beatrix of Holland awarded the title 'Royal' to Ahold. Albert Heijn (a direct descendant of Albert Heijn, the founder) stepped down as president in 1989 after having been at the helm for 27 years.

The 1990s was a period of rapid expansion. In 1991, Ahold opened a wholly-owned supermarket chain called Mana in the Czech Republic (later renamed Albert). In 1992, Ahold entered into a joint venture with the Portuguese chain Jerónimo Martins to form Jerónimo Martins Retail (JMR).

The company also continued with its expansion in the US by acquiring Tops Markets (based in New York) in 1991, Red Food Stores'55 supermarkets in Tennessee and Georgia in 1994, Mayfair (based in New York) in 1995, and Stop & Shop (based in New England) in 1996...

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