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The Wall Street Journal reports that Ahold Delhaize CFO Natalie Knight is saying that the company "plans to keep investing" in e-grocery "so that online shopping will become a larger part of the grocer’s overall revenue."

The Journal writes that for Ahold Delhaize, "the pandemic served as a wake-up call to accelerate its e-commerce business, including click-and-collect services that allow customers to pick up online purchases from a store, and home delivery."

E-grocery, the company says, represents about 4.3 percent of total sales this year, up 15.6 percent from a year earlier.  Knight says that having doubled the company investment in omnichannel in 2020, Ahold Delhaize plans to do the same in 2021.

According to the story, "Knight is pulling a range of levers to boost Ahold’s e-commerce sales. The company is expanding its click and collect business to cover 1,400 locations in the U.S. by the end of the year, up from 1,116 at the end of 2020. It recently launched a subscription service at its Giant Company business, on top of other existing subscription services.

"Ahold also wants to learn from FreshDirect, in which it became the majority stakeholder after its deal to acquire an 80% share in the online grocer closed in January. Private-equity firm Centerbridge Partners LP holds the remaining 20%."

And, the story says, "Ahold also continues to experiment with different fulfillment solutions for online orders, following the example set by Walmart Inc. and other retailers. Instead of having an employee shop for the customer in a store, one solution Ahold is testing will have robots pick and choose products in a micro-fulfillment center in Philadelphia. The new trial comes after Ahold in 2019 launched another automated fulfillment facility in Hartford, Conn."

KC's View:

To be honest, considering all the acceleration that took place in e-grocery throughout the industry, the Ahold Delhaize numbers seem low.  But I would argue that they don't do a very good job of marketing it.  I live right in Stop & Shop's backyard, I am a member of its frequent shopper program, and yet I can't remember the last time that I got an email pitching me on why I should use its online services.

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